There is no respect for people who live in the projects.I live in the projects but I want better things for myself. You were a member of the tenant patrol for many years. I used to sit in the lobby and greet people as they came in. You’ll sit up there and buy a ,000 to 0,000 watch, but that kind of money in the hood could go a long way in starting programs. If you try to say “hello,” they think you’re crazy. That’s in line with my morals, values, and beliefs. I went to live in California and stayed for five and a half years. I don’t want to put any names out there, but there are famous people who are from Tompkins Houses who claim they’re not from here because it’s a blemish. If you’ve made it and you have money, what’s wrong with taking one of these vacant buildings and opening a space to help out – a space to teach job training skills? Jayro has recently released an eponymous 14-track album of experimental rock fusion under the nom de plume “There’s No Such Thing As Giants.” How long did you live in Queensbridge Houses? We had to go out and hustle and find the means to get what we needed. But here, no one would talk to you; they’d ignore you and just go their own way.Today, public assistance is about keeping you right where you’re at. When they asked me to send in my housing recertification, my daughter was getting unemployment, so I had to send in her papers too, and my rent doubled.It’s indentured servitude, but you never get the chance to work out of it. * * * A native of Augusta, Georgia, Sharon Jones arrived in New York City at the age of three. Proficient on the cornet, horn and guitar, he has played alongside jazz luminaries such as Doug Carn, Art Blakey, and Henry Threadgill. Well, I haven’t been there for a while, so I don’t know what it’s like now.
You’ve obviously had great success with your singing career.
He is actively involved in community arts education through initiatives such as Rush Arts Philanthropic Foundation and Plays For Living. What is the perception of people living in housing projects?
What are your earliest memories of your housing project? It was a joy as a child, because most of my family was out there. I tend to feel that people think we don’t want to go anywhere.
They want to put an image out there that would look good to upper-class society. The charity that I want to give to is the place I grew up. Talk about the contrast between the favelas in your native country and Queensbridge Houses. I remember helping my parents make that, so I learned at an early age how to use your resources. I said to myself, “This is nothing like home.” When I was growing up back in Rio, everybody would talk to you.
There’s so much I could tell you if I could go back, but it’s been such a long time. Did you ever think that you would live to see your 100th birthday? There are plenty of successful doctors and lawyers from the hood, not just entertainers or athletes, that tend to give to charities for cancer and AIDS, to move up in society. The roof was made out of soda cans that were flattened out and nailed to boards. My friend in Queensbridge got his house broken into and nobody said anything.