Video: Compton Mayor Talks About Moving On From Gangsta Rap Rep
Compton mayor Aja Brown appears in a short video about changing the perception of Compton from a city of violence to the city her mother remembers.
Brown was elected as Mayor of Compton in June of 2013. She was 31 at the time, making her the youngest person ever elected as Mayor in Compton. Brown holds a Master's Degree in Urban Planning, and previously worked as an urban planner in Inglewood.
Brown grew up in Altadena, but her mother grew up in Compton. Brown said her mother, who raised her and her brother as a single parent, had a great childhood full of outdoor activities. However, her mother moved away from Compton as an adult after her own mother was murdered during a home invasion.
As "Aja Brown: My Mother's Compton" opens, residents talk about gang activity in Compton, something that has of course been highlighted by the numerous songs and films about just that. Brown's mission has been to change that focus.
"I believe that perception is more powerful than reality," Brown says in the video. "When people think of Compton, they think of gangsta rap, they think of gang members, they think of Bloods and Crips, they think of violence. And it was imperative for me to really focus on getting to the root of what people think of and then also making sure that we can eradicate those issues to really build a better Compton."
Brown previously met with gang leaders and offered them job training if they would agree to call a cease-fire. She told Elle she started with the Bloods, then went to the Crips, then talked to Latino gangs. Many were placed in job training programs, some eventually securing work in the parks department.