(CBS Local)– Los Angeles is one of the most fascinating cities in America and a new docuseries from VH1 offers an unfiltered and in-depth look at the Black experience called “Growing Up Black: LA.” Senior producer Heather Haynes came to LA to speak with local officials, community members and leaders to explore issues like racism, police brutality and Black Lives Matter movements around the country.
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith recently spoke with Haynes about her docuseries, what she learned from talking to folks in Los Angeles and what she hopes people will walk away thinking after they check out her work on VH1’s YouTube channel.
“Los Angeles by far has been one of my favorite episodes,” said Haynes. “I travel to Los Angeles all the time, but I never really meet any locals. It was fun to talk with locals and get the real Los Angeles experience. I got to talk with folks from Compton, Crenshaw and Inglewood and it really gave me a unique experience on what the Black experience is like growing up there.”
Haynes chatted with people such as Compton Mayor Aja Brown, rapper Yo-Yo, actor Tristen Wagner from HBO’s “Insecure” and Pamela Blackwell, the CEO of the city’s oldest Black newspaper, the LA Sentinel. This episode of Haynes’ docuseries hit on several important topics and two of them were the decriminalization of marijuana and police brutality.
“I talked with Chris and Charles Ball from the Ball Family Farms and they had a really interesting perspective about being in the marijuana industry as Black professionals,” said Haynes. “That was one of the biggest takeaways for me because right now a lot of Black people are in jail for marijuana. To hear their story was truly inspirational.”
“I think people will be inspired and also no matter what happens to you throughout your life, there are always things you can overcome,” said Haynes. “Success doesn’t have a time limit or age on it. I think people will be motivated no matter what is going on. It’s crazy to see how history repeats itself for the good or for the worse. In 1992, I wasn’t there for the protests and then you flash forward to the George Floyd protests in 2020, it’s kind of insane to see the parallels among the two. It’s also inspiring to see that this time we are protesting louder and change is starting to happen. We’ll take what we can get and keep pushing.”
The full episode of “Growing Up Black: LA” is available for free on VH1’s YouTube channel.