Birth of a Hoodrat


1. A carefree black girl
2. Fashion icon, trendsetter
3. Me (well sort of)

For a while, Hoodrat culture was frowned upon by the black community. “Regular” blacks were just trying to survive in America and hoodrats brought extra attention with dookie braids, “bigger the O bigger the hoe” earrings, long acrylic nails with multicolored designs and the tendency to “square up” if s*** didn’t go their way. Some black people were embarrassed of hoodrats not because of these traits, but because white folks already saw us all as hoodrats and they were only furthering that stereotype.

Insert the Kardashians, with a history of Kulture vulturism they swooped in and tried to make Hoodrat a thing. Dookie braids became “boxer braids” (whatever tf that is.) Their MO became “feauxrat.” Be a rich b*** but make it look like you came straight from a late 90’s hood. Let me say this before we go any further: I’m not with the “feauxrat” agenda. I am not a rich bored b**** trying to appropriate Hoodrat culture. I am simply… Hoodrat Adjacent.

While I come from a long line of hoodrats, (my mom and aunts have told me stories of greased faces in preparation for battle) I knew that it was only a matter of time before I too, greased my face, laced up my Nikes and popped a few acrylics for the cause.

I never felt the secondhand embarrassment that others felt when a Hoodrat was doing their thing. I was always amazed and intrigued mostly because my mom tried to shield me from that side insisting that I didn’t need to behave that way because Seattle was not Oakland.

It took me a while but I was finally initiated into the Hoodrat crew circa 2010! * 3 Snaps in a Z formation* but a part of me felt like I was somehow faking the funk. My cousins who are real hoodrats came to me with new ways to describe my level of Rat. “Civilized Hoodrat” is what I was called and I was also given my hood name “Dip.”

During this time, I maintained several “square” jobs but I always found time to do Hoodrat activities with my nigs. I also moved out of my mom’s house to stop from doing Hoodrat things in her presence. I smoked, drank, called into work and became a wee little too carefree (as if that is possible.) I was staying at a house with drug dealers, dating a fake a** ex pimp, drinking daily and dodging bullets at your friendly Southend kickback.

One day in all my Hoodrat glory, my mom called I hadn’t spoken to her in weeks she simply said “Gabrielle, dinner will be ready at 7. Come home.” It was at this moment I knew I was not and would never be a true Hoodrat. I made peace with it right then and there, took myself home, showered… although I didn’t truly give up on my rat ways until after the birth of my son.

2 thoughts on “Birth of a Hoodrat

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