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NEZA (Cholos and Graffiti)

December 30, 2010

As I waited in front of Bellas Artes for a stranger who was to guide me in Neza I scrupulously tried to find her by guessing (late night=bad planning=cell phone at desk, next to laptop). The girl in pink who tossed her hair from side to side… to fresa to study Chicano/a Art. The girl who sat across from me and nervously tapped her foot… to desesperada to drive all the way to UNAM from Neza (an hour and 30 minute drive on a good day), the short, blonde girl with the raver/punk undertones..not Neza enough (I’d only been once, but I knew Neza when I saw it).

So I waited until finally the raver girl came over and introduced herself: “Hola, soy Xochitl, tu eres el Chicano.” Xochitl was born and raised in Neza, a city on the outskirts of Mexico City that developed somewhat overnight. She does research for my professor and he figured it would be a good idea for us to meet. Residents showed up to Neza and for many years maintained autonomy from the rest of the city. They lived in modest dwellings with no running water or electricity. It is these origins and the cholos and graffiti that make this hood distinct from other poor barrios in Mexico City. According to Xochitl he most interesting thing about the cholos from Neza is that they have never been to East Los Angeles (or the United States for that matter). They learned to dress, talk, throw signs, and posture from the various movies that made their way to Mexico. The graffiti arrived in the late 1980s and in very recent times the crew SF (Sin Fronteras) started sponsoring a contest of sorts on a secundaria that gladly loans their walls. While I was hoping to talk to some of the neza cholos, Xochitl advised against entering the hoods where they reside. Instead we saw some graffiti, visited a cultural center, and drank beers at a small bar that blasted classic rock. I was left wondering why the youth of Neza adopted cholo culture, their relationship to the city, and what we Mexicans on both sides of the border can learn from a transnational cultural practice that for many is viewed as degenerate and violent.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 4:31 pm

    This image is amazing.

  2. romeo permalink*
    January 11, 2011 8:07 pm

    its an entire block of graffiti, really cool.

  3. DIEGO LEMUS permalink
    March 10, 2011 10:14 pm

    YO VIVO EN NEZA Y SI TENEMOS UNA AUTONOMIA CULTURAL, NO ES LA MISMA QUE LA DEL D.F. . BUENO YO RECUERDO QUE A PRINCIPIOS DE LOS NOVENTA, SE EMPEZABA A VER ESTE TIPO DE EXPRESIONES, QUE DESPUES SE DIO COMO UN BOOM Y DESPUES YA LO VEIAS EN OTROS LADOS, YO CRECI CON LAS HISTORIAS DE LAS PANDILLAS QUE EN ESE ENTONCES ESTABAN EN ACTIVIDAD, POR MENCIONAR ALGUNAS ERAN LA PRIMERA, LOS CXL, LOS CACOS, ENTRE MUCHAS OTRAS, Y DIRAN, QUE TIENE DE ESPECIAL SI EN TIJUANA O EN OTROS LADOS YA SE CONOCIA DESDE HACE MUCHO TIEMPO ESTE TIPO DE EXPRESIONES, PERO AQUI ERA UNA CIUDAD QUE NO TENIA MUY CONCRETA SU IDENTIDAD CULTURAL POR LO QUE ESTA FUE MUY ACEPTADA.

  4. March 10, 2011 10:21 pm

    Gracias por to commentario Diego. Como ves, mi “post” es muy breve. Mas k nada es para se~alar como “vieja” la cultura.
    saludos desde de nueva york
    romeo

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