Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bijlmertalk – Young Black people in Amsterdam South East

Bijlmertalk is a new web TV show created for and by young black people in the multicultural district Amsterdam South East in The Netherlands.

In the shows experts will be interviewed about various themes, but also politicians, business people and residents will get attention.

In the video the two hosts say: “Here it's going to happened, Bijlmertalk 20. We are going to talk about sports, politics, crime, jobs and income.” Check their website at

Bijlmertalk partnered with the website Bijlmer, a website packed with information for youngsters and children in the district. And it’s also created by the young people of South East. Check their website at

To see what life is like for these youngster go directly to the photo albums at:


  1. This seems like it will be very interesting. While watching this i recognize many places. I really loved being there because it had such a great cultural feeling. The people were cool and willing to share their life stories with me. My friend works in this area, helping people become legal. Can't wait until February for my visit. But i still don't consider the Bijlmer to be projects... Even though so many do. I was really amazed how the people really were no different than people here in the states.

  2. negroamor4u, you're right it’s not the same as the projects in the US. But many people, white and black, like to compare it with the black urban districts in the US. Whites see a parallel because many people who live in the Bijlmer are black, and some blacks see similarities because they have a romanticised view of the "ghetto". They think the projects are "cool" and creative street places where people produce hip hop all day, paint artistic graffiti on the walls and where the gangstas live as kings. Most of them have no idea of the extreme poverty in those neighbourhoods.

    I remember a friend of mine went to the US and actually visited a housing project.
    He was shocked when he came back and remained in shock for over two months. He never saw so much broken down buildings and extreme living conditions in his life. He lived in a “ghetto” with a big supermarket, a grocery and a bakery downstairs. The flowery and gift shop where just around the corner.

    And of course there are similarities. There are teenage mothers, there are junkies and drugs dealers and there is drugs related crime. But it's incomparable to the US. There is also no knife and crime problem, like in the UK.

    The problem is that everyone is focused on the social problems, that’s why you won't hear about Bijlmer kids who are studying at the colleges or the universities. One thing I know for sure is that many of these kids you see on the photos will turn out oke. Once they participate in these projects they are in the right social circles.

    The most important reason why the Bijlmer is not a project is because nowadays you have to buy a house if you want to live in the Bijlmer. This is part of the gentrification program which started more than 10 years ago. Of course there are still rental apartments.

    It’s great to hear you travel so much and meet people around the world. I know it changes you as person. And it’s good for your career of course.

  3. Greetings!

    This is just a short note to let you know that I mentioned your blog (and included a link to this page) on this facebook page!/groups/280498525297633/ When Are We Going To See More Black UK Jazz Musicans On UK'S Jazz Stage?

    To preface the two comments that I posted which referenced Afro-Europe, in previous comments to that particular thread, I had mentioned that although I'm not from the UK I joined that group because I believe in its purpose, and I liked the fact that as a result of joining that group I now was in communication with some Black Britons. A member of that group then wrote "Now you have to meet Black!")

    Here's one of those comments:

    I've found Afro-Europe to be a very interesting read and some people on that blog appear to be receptive to communicating with non-European folks (regardless of their race/ethnicity).

    I know that there have been Black Germans and other Black Europeans besides Black Britons for centuries. However, I consider it to be VERY significant that due the large amount of recent immigration throughout Europe in recent years, the referent "European" no longer automatically means a "White" person living in Europe."


    Thanks again for this blog!

    Azizi Powell
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

  4. Afro-Europe and yes you are so right about the Bijlmer not comparing to the projects here. But I must say I enjoyed reading what you had to say. And the funny thing is my friend said some of the same things. My friends who lives a distance from the Bijlmer in a really nice area…can sometimes be disconnected. But I got mad love for them anyway because they never forgot where they came from. Nor did he ever lose they compassion for other Black people. No one is perfect I say…..
    I can imagine your friend coming to the US and seeing a housing project. I know it had to freak him out! I say that because when I was in Amsterdam I was amazed at what you guys were calling a! Man I was saying to myself If I grew up here I would have thought it was! And funny enough I felt very safe there. There was never a moment where I felt like I had to really watch my back. Now don’t get me wrong I always watch my back!!
    Here in Chicago we had the Robert Taylor Homes miles and miles of high rise projects. Where people live in constant fear. People were killed coming down on the elevators. Raped coming down the stairways heading to school or work. Constant fighting and gunshots going off all the time. Drugs being sold by kids, cops killing kids just a cesspool of crime. I was lucky I can say because even though I lived in the hood I grew up in what we call scattered site housing. So it was I little different but not that much. But I wouldn’t change my upbringing for anything because it has made me the man I am today. And I have to mention Cabrini Green projects, if you looked at Good Times the tv series there was a back drop of those projects. But let me say it was 50 times worst than the Robert Taylor Homes…so you can imagine how those people lived on a daily basis. But now those places have been demolished and gentrification has taken place…. I really don’t like that either because it displaced so many Black people.
    And yes traveling around meeting new people has changed me in a big way. I now see that Black people no matter where we come from have some of the same struggles. But we are not all the same if that makes sense. But the commonality is so strong and understood in so many ways. I have met some really cool people from all over. Not only Black but whites as well, even though I’m only interested in meeting Black people. But you never know who will cross your path and enrich your life. My world has opened up in a way that I really can’t put it into words. Things are now so much bigger than I thought it to be. Black people are so much more colorful than they once were to me. My mind now is open to so much more because of all I have seen. I could go on and on about this….but not! I will say as far as my career goes it! I’m grateful for a job considering the economy but working with numbers all day is boring as hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would really like to do something else…….

  5. Negroamor4u, thanks for the information! But I have to be honest for Dutch standards the Bijlmer was a ghetto, especially in the past.

    After I read your comment I looked up a video of the Cabrina green project, To be honest, I still can't believe it. Was this for real!

    I know the community in Cabrina green project wasn’t your standard Black American community, but I think many Black European kids who feel they want to look like their brothers in the hood, should be dropped in such a neighbourhood for a month. If they survive the experience, I think they will be cured for life.

    But thanks again for sharing this!

  6. Afro Europe yes this was for real! You can google Cabrini Green Projects and you will be amazed at all the things that happened. I must agree with you and yes if you dropped those young guys from Bijlmer there…yes they would come out changed people. But you said it…if they survived. It was a totally different world in there. That was just one part of what the projects and ghettos looked like here. And no it is not the standard Black community. As a matter of fact there are so many great Black areas. The one thing I don’t like about some rap videos are the glamorization of the hood. Those rappers did all they could to get out of the ghetto. Even thought they carry that mentality with them….they would never want to go back. And your welcome!!


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