South Ward: Omar

Image by Akintola Hanif South Ward: Omar In 2011, I started off selling $1 bottles of oil for women and men and I came up with this gimmick, something concerning hygiene, something universal. I thought of the slogan “smell good, look good” and started putting that in people’s ear.  It worked.  The first day,  I sold 700 bottles. The South Ward has been my  home base since 2015. It’s residential, it’s a...


South Ward: Isaiah

Photo by Akintola Hanif South Ward: Isaiah When I was growing up my dad lived on Foster Street at the mouth of Weequahic Park. It was a block that always had a lot of working class families, a building for seniors and other units with a big mix of people. The park was the place where everyone gathered but you didn’t see these stark differences between them anymore. There was all sorts of people that would use it coming...


South Ward: Antoinette

Photo by Akintola Hanif South Ward: Antoinette I went to Weequahic High School from 1966 to 1970. When I came here, it was 80 percent Jewish. When I left, there was maybe one or two white kids. That was how fast things changed. I think the school system was totally unprepared for us. We basically just had to figure out how to fit in.  I don’t want to say we were invaders, but we didn’t belong and there wasn’t an...


South Ward: James

Image by Akintola Hanif South Ward: James I came to this country from Ghana in 1978 when I was 20.  I was a nuclear medicine technician but I always wanted to open up a business for my people.  This was a vacant building  when I found it in 2004.  I built everything here myself—the sheetrock, I fixed the roof, everything. The big reason people come here is because our food is fresh. We are not canned or packaged....


South Ward: Aliyah

Image by Akintola Hanif South Ward: Aliyah Growing up, everyone knew me and I didn’t have problems with people or my peers, period, because I was respected already. In school it was ok because I wasn’t the only gay girl. I played basketball from my elementary years and it used to be me and a ton of boys at the basketball yard. It was fun growing up back then— that’s when things were safer. We used to run around...