Under The Radar - Poverty Pimps Gone Wild


By Francis White 

Who knows what the oldest profession is in Buffalo/Western New York? Did you say manufacturing? Close, but not quite. Did you say construction? Close, but again that’s not it. Did you say the legal profession? No, but they are involved. Did you say the preacher? No, but they are involved. Did you say the politician? No, but they are very much involved.

The oldest profession around here is that of the poverty pimp.

So some people I know asked me to come onto this “anti-poverty” commission. It exists as a body, but they haven’t been doing what they were originally created to do. It was started as a group of “community stakeholders” who would decide how certain funds and monies, straight up cash (some public and some private) in the many million$$$ that’s supposed to be used to enhance the quality of life for the poorest citizens living among us. They asked me to join thinking that I could help get it back on the right track. We’ll see what happens.

So I get to my first meeting and it’s located at a community center in the hood. No problem there, but my initial reaction was that I was at the wrong location. I pull into the parking lot and all I saw was Cadillacs, Escalades, and Hummers. As I’m thinking this, I hear a voice say “Frankie baby, what’s crackin? Long time no see. Poverty pimpin ain’t easy, but somebody’s got to do it.” I turn my head and it’s Pimpin Poverty Cash. He’s the chairman of this anti-poverty commission and a character and a half. He was getting out of his money green 2015 Cadillac, four door coupe. “The gangs all here I see. We got Legal Pimpin, Church Pimpin, Educational Pimpin, Political Pimpin – ooh that’s my dogs, Editorial Pimpin, and Non-profit Pimpin - god*** we about to have a poverty pimpin good time up in here today. Let’s go upstairs honey” he said.

As I walk up the stairs, all I could hear was people talking in high pitched voices and what sounded like music from the “Super Fly” soundtrack playing in the background. I get to the doorway of the meeting room and it looked like a scene from the Players Ball. There was nothing but a room full of men and women wearing fur or mink coats, having processed long hair, and wearing big ass 70’s style hats. They had hands and necks full of gold jewelry. They even had the lights off, a disco ball, strobe light and a smoke machine going. They said randomly when I came in the room “hey Frankie, what up honey? Long time no see. What you doing at a poverty pimp meeting? Lol.” I gave individual handshakes and greetings, and then I called the meeting to order. “Ok ya’ll let’s get this meeting popping, there are people out here who are depending on us to deliver the goods. Turn the light on, the music off, and turn that dam fog machine off!!!” I said.

Apparently they start their meetings with a word of prayer from Church Pimpin. “Dear Lord, it’s hard out here for a poverty pimp. We thank you for poverty, for without it we are nothing. We also want to thank you for this money we’re about to cut up. Bless us and guide us, as we cut this up, so we can cut up on outta here. In your name we pray, Amen.”

The first issue that came up was a request for $5,000 from another community center in the neighborhood for after school programming. To me the place does good work, is definitely underfunded, and we more than have the money in our budget. Also, according to our guidelines, this is something that we’re supposed to be doing with our budget. Pimpin Poverty Cash stood up and said “now I’ve been poverty pimpin, since poverty pimpin been poverty pimpin. Can’t these little muthas just play some video games or something? My man’s got an old pool table that leans that we could give to them. My taxes are due and a playa can’t afford take one of his caddies off the road. Poverty pimpin ain’t easy, but god***it somebody’s gotta do it.” Church Pimpin stood up and said “I’d be for using this money on after school programs, but only if they use my church facilities, become church members, and become Mega Church Prosperity Pimpin Doctrine baptized.” Right at that moment Educational Pimpin stood up and said “Oh hell to the naw, I need that money so my school can label more youth as being “special ed” and then we can get that 5 g’s.” Political Pimpin stood up and said “we need to be smart about how we use this bread. How about we use the money to create attack ads against those who actually want to do something positive with this money?” Editorial Pimpin stood up and said “I could write a real in depth series about it to engage the community for input, but that would upset my advertisers. I can’t do that. I gotta million tricks, I mean readers and I my advertisers ain’t going to like that. ” Non-profit Pimpin stood up and said “I could use this money for an awards ceremony honoring people that don’t do what they’re supposed to do with the anti-poverty money they do have.” Legal Pimpin stood up and said “I could point out what the illegalities in this situation are, and I know this is a human rights issue, but I need a payoff bad. I’m trying to get a hot tub installed in my back deck this summer.”

I stood up and said “folks sit all your ignorant asses down, everybody can’t talk at once. We are an anti-poverty commission and we have a job to do. Buffalo has consistently been a top seed in the playoffs of urban poverty. We’re on the verge of winning our first title if we don’t start to do right with the money we do have. I mean the steel plants and factories closed a long time ago. Many of our youth are fleeing here in droves. There’s children living in homes with no food or resources, and being raised by adults who can’t read. How in the hell could any of you guys in good conscious, put your own selfish agenda ahead of that of the community’s?” Pimpin Poverty Cash said in a quieter but pimped out voice “Frankie honey child, don’t nobody up in here care about all that, let’s get down to this money honey, cause poverty pimpin ain’t easy and somebody’s got to do it.”

Making a long story short, I eventually convinced them to table this until our next meeting. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into here? Like I said, we’ll see how this thing goes.

Oh, there are other poverty pimps who are involved, but weren’t able to make it to this meeting. These are folks like Yuppie Pimpin, Kente Pimpin, and some other characters who I definitely couldn’t make up. I’ll talk about them in another post.