Looking for old school pictures of your mom G'd up from the feet up? Have you found a dope photo of your OG uncles you'd like to share? Look no further than the Instagram @OC_Memories, a page dedicated to capturing the barrio scene of Orange County by showcasing old-school images of gangs, car clubs, party crews, greasers, pachucas, graffiti and murals. It's a part of a recent wave of Instagram pages like @Veteranas_And_Rucas that document Southern California street culture of years. While the admin of OC Memories ignored repeated requests for comment, their purpose of starting the page can be found on a March 9, 2017 post discussing Chicano murals, which our Mexican-in-Chief has documented for over a decade.
"The reason why I run this page is to learn some history of our barrios through pictures," the admin wrote. "Many of these murals have been taken down, only heard [about] in stories but now with the help of you guys, us younger generations can take a look at how it was. Gracias to you all for sending them flicks."
While controversial and underground for a reason, these images capture a history of OC too often hidden away in the shadows, and is proof to your cousins from Eastlos and the San Fernando Valley that la naranja can be down. The pictures show how much things changed from the 1940s zoot-suited pachucas of Anaheim Vine Street to the 1990's makeup-clad Freeloaders Party Crew of Santa Ana. From the 1950s Barrio Logan Los Dominoes dressed in rockabilly jackets with slick back hair, to the 1970s long haired members of Fullerton's Tokers Town. 1980s youngsters from East Side Buena Park no older than 12 can be seen practicing gang signs while Polaroids show blasted OG's flexing while locked up in prison in the '90s. There's happy memories in these photo's seen in the smiles and yet tragedy only a comment away when you see the "R.I.P." or the "currently serving life" written in the caption. Still, there's pride in these photos and culture stretching back generations.
While the occasional hater makes their way in to the comment section, the page continues to grow with more than 1,000 likes on some images and upwards of 18,000 followers. The page has helped old friends reconnect after all these years and even helped one user get closer to finding his long-lost father. OGs have signed off on the use of the photos on the Instagram and many are the ones sending in the photos. People are happy to see their neighborhoods recognized, their histories shared and their passed-on loved ones remembered once more. While the page is mostly Chicano-centered, the page recently began showcasing old pictures from black and Asian neighborhoods, with the admin telling users "drop a racist comment and you'll get blocked."
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Despite the love and support, the page is also not without controversy. When we showed an OG the page for the first time, they shook their head and said posting these types of pictures goes against street code since they reveal the identity of members. Some within the local gang community have accused OC Memories of stealing images off of their pages, allegations the admin denies by stating all of their pictures are sent to them through messages and any stolen pictures will be taken down if the rightful owners request so. Gangs have gotten upset over incorrect information posted in the captions, which never seem to be corrected despite complaints. Others wish to know the identity of the admin, even going as far as to think the page is a police front, with one user commenting, "if you look at this profile, how [the fuck] do they know all this info...they must be pigs serio."
Hopefully the admin will reach out to us and squash any misconceptions. Until then, word of caution from the big homie: "Watch what you post on social media, la jura is always watching."