Top Ten Records Embraces Chicano Culture With Sundays On Jefferson
Every Sunday, as the sun begins to descend on the horizon over Jefferson Boulevard, the sounds of Latin hip-hop, Tejano, and cumbia can be heard in the distance with bass so fierce pedestrians can’t help but listen to it. turn around and look. What follows is a parade of Hispanic and Chicano culture – the heartbeat of the natives of Oak Cliff.
“I didn’t know that culture was there,” Denton resident Susan Ramey said on September 12 when she stumbled upon the show on her way to dinner. “It gives the community something to do and brings people together. It’s a healthy way to express part of the culture.
Sundays on Jefferson is an Oak Cliff tradition where the familiar street scenery becomes the scene of an auto art show. Lowriders, trucks and bicycles line the street as they roll down Jefferson, music booming as generations of families gather along the sidewalks to enjoy the affair. Top Ten Records wants it to be.
“Music is dead,” said Mike Polk, former owner of Top Ten Records and current member of the board of directors. “For the past two years, I was here, I was here only because of DJ Daniel Boom and DJ Big Baby. They did mixes and that’s all I sold because the music industry has changed. There was no more product in the street.
The store closed for a year and a half in 2015 and reopened as a nonprofit record store and lending library in 2017.
Top Ten Records recruited Rosilinda Sanchez to the board of directors in March. Sanchez’s goal was to reconnect the Hispanic community with Top Ten Records by “keeping the raza rooted in the community.
“We needed to get a little more involved in the community,” said Barak Epstein, Chairman of the Board of Top Ten Records. “When Rosi got involved, I think we had an extra helping hand directly because she is a bit more active on social media. [media] and try to interact more directly with people.
Sanchez propelled grassroots efforts to embrace the Hispanic community. On foot, Sanchez went from business to business on Jefferson to saludar, say hello and reintroduce Top Ten Records.
However, the community greeted Sanchez with anguish. With an influx of new businesses, a shifting demographics, renovations and new housing in the Bishop Arts District, the north-south divide of Oak Cliff hints at a future involving relocation and gentrification as tenants of Jefferson want to avoid.
“When you walk into Bishop Arts, it’s sad,” said Sanchez, from Oak Cliff. “It’s like we don’t even belong there anymore.”
Jefferson Boulevard is not up for grabs. Top Ten Records, which has been on Jefferson Boulevard since 1956, sacrifices no effort to maintain the authenticity of the street and preserve the culture.
“When we say preserve, it’s because we want to make sure that the lowriders, the Mexican people here know this is their home and our neighborhood,” Sanchez said. “We’re not going anywhere. This is extremely important because there is so much heritage and tradition in lowriding and freestyle music.
Sanchez’s efforts made their way through the vineyard to Joey Gonzales, DJ Storm of Dallas.
“We love everything that happens, we love the changes, but we’re just going to stay true to who and what we are and what we do,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales, who started his DJ career in Dallas at the age of 12, is the last of his generation to still produce Latin freestyle mixes. With the release of his new mixtape available on Top Ten Records in a nostalgic CD and cassette format, Gonzales hopes this company will open the floodgates for more DJs to embrace Chicano culture and its music.
Top Ten Records kept the doors open at the end of September 5th and Gonzales set the tone inside Top Ten Records as he created a new Latin freestyle mix for Monte Carlos, Impalas and automobile clubs. to navigate as families lined the street.
“When you get here you get that brunette pride and that says, ‘I count, I come from a cool tradition and culture,'” said Sanchez.
“It’s family,” said Josie Cortez Lozano, president of the United Lowrider Association. “It’s like our Sunday family dinners, a family dinner cruise before Monday.”
Aiming to shatter misconceptions about Chicano culture, the United Lowrider Association has used its platform to organize street cleanups, toy drives, and efforts to support Jeffersonian businesses.
“We don’t want a bad name,” Lozano said. “We don’t want problems, we don’t do anything wrong. We support businesses. ”
It is a sentiment that is echoed repeatedly by the participants.
“Family is what it is, that’s what it is about, being a role model for them,” said Jimmy Garcia, member of the Phaylanx automobile club, pointing to his family. “We are not gang members, everyone thinks we are gang members and drug dealers. We are nothing like that.