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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Is Hip-Hop Helping Gentrify Downtown Santa Ana?

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

A graffiti mural splashed with color and the words Santa Ana looms from the rooftop over the courtyard between Fourth and French streets. In the left-hand corner of the piece, the artist tagged the phrase "East End"—the new name of the area known for decades as Fiesta Marketplace. The brick layered walkways of Plaza Santa Ana used to be home to El Faisan, a collection of kiosks offering Westernwear and Mexican imports before disappearing like many other immigrant businesses before it.

Nowadays, the sights and sounds of traditional Latino culture are surrounded by clubs and outdoor shows pumping heavy bass and boom-bap. Clothing shops sling expensive caps and designer sneakers, as shiny cowboy boots and tejanas fade into the background. As the market expands in the plaza, it's natural to believe hip-hop culture is becoming one of the strongest elements in the city's continuing gentrification.

Read more on my latest OC Weekly music feature out on newsstands today. If outside the distribution area, click the link below:

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