An Adult Sweet Sixteen

Honestly, I’m just happy my outfit aged chicly. I was fifteen, attending a sweet sixteen, for someone I’ve known since seven. Her mom rented out the entirety of Madame X in Soho. I was wasted upon arrival, I was wasted upon exiting the premises. They sure did serve us courtesy of yellow dresses mom. It’s so funny, I look at these pictures and see ethnicity. Others just see my lone brown face. Showing people childhood photos their commentary typically run along the lines of, there’s a lot of white people. I’m grateful for their commentary, once upon a time I too lived in a bubble, one I’m happy burst. Now I can help bring equity and equality having left a cosseted facade. I wasn’t on yayo yet, having attended my caliber of middle school (all of us in the photo are East Side Middle School alumni), I wanted to keep my purity just a bit longer. Correction, I wasn’t on it that night…at least I waited til high school, okay. All I remember is the taxi ride down there. Judge people by their experiences, not your stupidity, prejudice and racism. I always ask people about their lives having grown up with diversity. Do you?

East Side Middle School Alumni

Mischa Barton: Not only the O.G of The O.C, but the O.G of ESMS success. Heads up, our middle school was probably wilder than your college. When we went it was a floor and a half of an elementary school, the top half, on York between 77th and 78th. I can only imagine the affect it had on those kids. Anyways, I didn’t attend with Misha, but her sister Hania was a grade above me. Now this was when Disney Movies were it (Luck Of The Irish, Halloweentown, Johnny Tsunami type shit), we were hyped when we found out she was the star of A Ring Of Endless Light. Hyped. She was even cooler in high school, playing Marissa Cooper. I snorted coke with an $100 bill, because Mischa snorted coke with an $100 bill (allegedly).

Julia Fox: Known her since elementary school, she was in second grade I was in third. If you wanna know what our first interaction was ask her. She knew who she was from the jump, cartwheeling over in our cafeteria/gym, announcing herself, in a nobody…Julia Fox manner. As an artist she’s lived many lives and is now a burgeoning A-list actress, her breakout role being Uncut Gems. It wasn’t my speeding heart, or the clouds spinning, spinning, in the sky, but her commentary, “Jaquana you’re talking a mile a minute. I don’t know what you’re saying,” that made me realize I was about to overdose at fifteen. In the crevice of an inside outside park on 79th street.
We spent one summer hanging out with gang members and destroying Carl Schurz Park, where had I come five minutes earlier, I’d be witness to her throwing a dead pigeon on some girl badmouthing her. Legendary, she used a plastic bag to pick up the carcass of course. That chick had more bark than bite and left sobbing.

Emily Meade: Same grade, same classes. In seventh grade had plans to marry Heath Ledger (RIP). Her performance in The Deuce was superb, harrowing and underrated. What a complex character and an amazing show, one my mom and I loved.

Erin Yogasundram: started a popping fashion blog, a successful online boutique (ShopJeen) and has been humble the whole way through. Even after making it on Forbes 30 under 30, she still made time to answer questions regarding entrepreneurial pursuits. Now the wife/manager to influencer Kerwin Frost. When I think of Erin, square black framed glasses and junk in the trunk comes to mind.

Aliza Kelly: Cosmopolitan astrologer, always had a winged eye and goth vibe. BFF’s with Emily Meade then, BFF’s with her now. She was on the Spanish speaking side of school, so I never had classes with her. What comes to mind isn’t appropriate, high energy, chatty and wears tons of black is the best I can do.

EJ Dickinson: Friends for one year in the sixth grade before she transferred to Riverdale Prep. Cracked me up. Now she’s a senior writer for Rolling Stone.

Colby Minifie: Same grade as her sister Hayden. She was younger, so I have no memories. She is a star of Fear The Walking Dead and friend to former coworker Melody, who raves about her.

I’m the only black person to add to this group. Invalidating my experience with lies, when I don’t know you, is weirdo vibes and disrespectful.

Via: Mischa Barton Fan Page, Julia Fox FC, Emily Meade, Erin Jeen, Aliza Kelly, EJ Dickison & Colby Minifie