The 818: A Love Letter

A love letter to the San Fernando Valley (818) and the wonderful inhabitants that make it a beautiful multicultural suburbia. The Valley takes up almost half of Los Angeles, but it’s overlooked by most Angelenos as a haven for “used cars, porn, and where the rich and famous live to hide”. That’s not us. We aren’t “Valley Girls” or the backdrop to your favorite TV show, there’s so much more to the beloved 818.

The Valley is an amalgamation of all the immigrants that live here. You have a heavy Latino, Black, Asian, and Greek population. Lowriders bumping up and down the road, barbecues and cook outs at the park, Asian grocery stores on every block, churches of different denominations opening doors to all for annual festivals, we have it all. You can experience the culture and community from around the world with a dash of Los Angeles all right here.

This project is dedicated to the 818 and the locals that rep it with pride.

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AARON: PACOIMA

People who judge the Valley the most are people who have never even been here. Everyone has their own connotation of the valley , “valley girls” “Kim k Ville” but it’s definitely not that. A good majority of the Valley, especially the East Side (Pacoima, Arleta, Panorama City), are gang heavy and outsiders don’t really know that.

If I didn’t grow up here, I would be a completely different person. I grew up on a street where half the kids were blood. As a young black kid society gives you two options: athlete or gang life. I wanted neither of those. While society tells you what you’re worth and what you can be, my community and family helped me grow in the creative field. I have been through many creative channels like, rapping, videography, photography. The diversity of people from here helped me realize who I am and who I’m not.

There’s so much culture in Pacoima. Latino, Black, Asian culture all mixed as one and you gain a sense of perspective from it. Everyone is tight with everyone. You get to experience a variety cultures while they return the favor and experience yours.

That’s what the Valley is to me. Community, family, friends. A support system that I’ve had since day 1. whenever you link up with Valley kids it’s like nothing changed. We all grow and go our separate ways but we all keep a piece of the Valley with us.

I feel like our community needs that one person to shine the light for the rest of us. Look at Compton, no one looked at the city until Ice Cube, Eazy- E, and Dr. Dre paved the way. Them putting their city on the map showed every one the talent Compton has to offer rather than the connotations that revolve around it. Now we have amazing artists like YG and Kendrick Lamar putting out shit because they OGS showed them they can. It’s insane no one from here has made their mark yet. Pacoima is known for streets filled with murals and street art yet only the locals seem to know about it.

Check out Aaron’s website and instagram