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The Bronx Verses American Idol

| Filed under: American Idol

One episode down and they've already started a scandal.

Last night, Fox premiered American Idol's first episode of the tenth season. The talk this morning should have been about how well Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez did as judges or the weirdos that showed up and in some cases made it through to Hollywood (Star Tittiays girl from Jersey, we're talking to you!)

But alas, all of this is getting overshadowed, at least in The Bronx, as people are outraged by the portrayal their beloved borough got through the eyes of contestant Travis Orlando. Travis shared his life story about living in shelters and being surrounded by violence in the Bronx. Borough President Ruben Diaz wasn't too happy about this and sent out a statement blasting the show for showcasing his city as they did. Here's what Mr. Diaz had to say:

“I am thoroughly disgusted with the treatment of the Bronx on last night’s American Idol. Rather than focus on the amazing revitalization the Bronx has seen over the past three decades, the producers of the show chose instead to highlight the negative stereotypes that have plagued our borough for years. The Bronx is the proud home of 1.4 million people, and over the past 30 years we have seen a dramatic drop in crime, incredible new business activity and the development of amazing new infrastructure. The portrayal of the Bronx by the producers of American Idol in such an extremely negative light is not only shameful, it does not accurately represent how far the Bronx has come.

For those who want to learn the truth about the vibrant neighborhoods, world-class cuisine, burgeoning eonomy and amazing amenities the Bronx has to offer, I invite them to visit the official website of the Bronx Tourism Council, www.ilovethebronx.com,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr."

We've attached the video from last night (above) so you can see for yourselves what The Bronx is so up in arms about. We're thinking they may have been overreacting a bit. The person who's actually saying that the Bronx is infected with drugs and violence is the 16-year-old who's living there now. Are you trying to tell us he doesn't know his own neighborhood? Are you saying the footage taken is not of the shelter he had to live in? You're gonna tell us that Jenny from the Block, who grew up in the south side of the Bronx, would let the show say something that isn't true? C'mon!

What do U think?

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66 comments to “The Bronx Verses American Idol

  1. 1

    versUS. not VersES, it's not a song for god's sake!

  2. 2

    So what Ruben Diaz is saying is that Travis shouldn't tell his (true) story because it makes the Bronx looks bad? Or, at the very least, a "Come Visit the Beautiful Bronx" tourism clip should follow his story? What an insult to what Travis and his family has endured. Not once does Ruben Diaz express empathy for Travis or his family. Disgusting.

  3. lolli says – reply to this


    Okay I am from the bronx 180 and grand concourse as shown on the video above. And Mr. Diaz is just a homophobic religious nut job who needs to worry about the issues discussed in the video that are affecting the citizens of the bx rather than writing a lengthy letter to the media for attention.
    This man is dangerous for the bronx how he keeps getting elected is beyond me. But what the boy was saying about that particular area of the bronx or what the producers showed to the American public is 90% true. The bronx has gotten better but its still a pretty rough area to live in (the south bx). the candles and memorial in front of the building was not fake someone was killed!

  4. 4

    I hate when people say she is from the "south side" of the Bronx. She is not… I am a Bronx native & JLo grew up in Castle Hill which is quite nice and her Mom was a teacher so she hardly had this "hood" upbringing she portrays. The south side of the Bronx was a crazy place to grow up and it bothers me that she claims it for more of her bs rags to riches story. She's a hoe who f*cked her way to the top and Im out! Shout out to the Bronx but Ruben Diaz is buggin…. its still the hood in certain sections, Wakefield stand up!

  5. 5

    the bronx is the hood……….I'm sure it has it's nicer spots like every city but the bronx is g.he.t.t.o.

  6. 6

    If this is his story, it's his story…the producers don't have an obligation to paint the Bronx in a good light. I used to do sales in the Bronx, and the Grand Concourse area that he's from was not a great area. That said, there are definitely beautiful neighborhoods in the Bronx…

  7. 7

    Re: ClarkieSue – I agree. I'm from the Parkchester area. She came from a middle class neighborhood not Intervale or Jackson Avenue. She's such a chump trying to protray this image as if she came from the hood. Heck! Bet she's never entered the housing projects!

  8. 8

    First of all how jealous is Perez.

    You just know he will slam the show every week because he thought he should have been a judge lol.

    To ClarkieSue Jennifer was kicked out of her home at 16 for hanging out with the wrong crowd in the BRONX. She slept in all the poor areas until her dance teacher let her sleep on the floor of the dance studio.

  9. 9

    Just a little trivia: The Grand Concourse was once a wealthy neighborhood that was modeled after the “Champs Elysées”. Beautiful apartments with sunk-in living rooms.

  10. 10

    what they should realize that this is what the Bronx was like for this family in particular, not all of bronx in general, im sure bronx is a very good spot for people who are wealthy & or at least upper middle class, but as he showed he was below middle class, so thats what his life was like, he did say that he was no longer in the shelter & still living pay check to paycheck, but it obviously got better for him, its his background. not all of bronx's background, sorry but this is ridiculous!!!

  11. IamB says – reply to this


    ridiculous, mr. diaz! just abhorrent. As an NYer, i'm embarrassed this guy was elected into office. instead of focusing on how your borough is portrayed on a reality tv show like American Idol, maybeeeee you'd be better serving your constituents by shining a light on the fact that there still IS violence and crime in Bronx, despite how far its come. Bring attention to the deficiencies in the school system. Hell, if you're not going to do that, at least don't try to make the Bronx seem like America's #1 hot new tourist destination. There are some gorgeous neighborhoods in the Bronx and some amazing restaurants and things to see and do. But the Bronx is still a rough place to live for a lot of its residents. Period.

  12. 12

    Ignore them and they'll go away like all attention whores.

  13. 13

    As a resident of the Bronx…I'm sure this kid has experienced what he says..but it's not a reflection of the borough itself..it's a general representation of the GHETTO. I'm from the Bronx, still residing in the Bronx, college educated and working as an accountant. I didn't use living in the ghetto as an excuse or as a form of selfpity. If you're hungry enough, you can break the cycle and get your ass educated and progress will follow. Regarding JLO not debating it…well that's because, J-LO knows Jack about the ghetto..she lived in Northeast section of the Bronx..not the South as you claim. She lived in a private house..she never experienced half of the things this youngster has.

  14. GIO says – reply to this


    It's the kids story..not the borough president Ruben Diaz…maybe he needs some attention…the kids got a great voice

  15. 15

    Re: JessicaBella – That never happened sweetie….JLo sleeping in the streets…what a crock of s..hit? Her mother took everyday to dance class in Manhattan. Her father worked at my company for years…I can assure you lived in a loving home till she left for Los Angeles.

  16. 16

    Re: IamB – In Ruben Diaz' defense, who I happen to know well personally..he just became borough president..less than two years ago…He's not a miracle worker..it's gonna take sometime for Bronx residents to see the changes/improvement. He has the best intentions at heart and obviously cares enough about the image that's being portrayed of the Bronx. The way I see it…the white folks and yuppies are creeping back into the Bronx and our rents are going higher because of it…so HOW TERRRIBLE CAN IT BE? People's perception of the Bronx is still stuck on the 70's and 80's when Bronx was a hell hole.

  17. 17

    I agree that this clip makes the ENTIRE Bronx seem like a hell hole. It would definitely seem like it to anyone who doesn't know anything about the Bronx. So, I have to agree with Diaz who says The Bronx was portrayed in a negative light. It's unfortunate this kid and his family have been struggling in one of the not so good parts of the Bronx. His father even stated the family used live nicely, but then they hit rock bottom because of the economy so they HAD to bascially live that way and try to get back on their feet. It can happen to ANYONE, ANYWHERE at ANYTIME nowadays! The Bronx, just like many other places, has good and bad parts. Best of luck to him on AI.

  18. 18

    so dumb.

  19. 19

    Re: JessicaBella – That never happened sweetie….JLo sleeping in the streets…what a crock of s..hit? Her mother took everyday to dance class in Manhattan. Her father worked at my company for years…I can assure you lived in a loving home till she left for Los Angeles.

    Go yo youtube
    jennifer lopez behind the music

    Her and her mother talk about it.

    Learn facts before making a fool out of yourself.

  20. 20

    i totally agree with you Perez…that kid is telling the truth and why should he idealize Bronx if he went trough all of that…It is his story and nobody can complain!

  21. 21

    Re: JessicaBella – I don't know who told you this, but you are sadly misinformed. LoL. JLo left her home at her own will to pursue a career in entertainment, specifically dance. Before she decided to leave her parent's home, she was even offered a job at a law firm, but she declined in order to pursue her career.

    JLo never grew up really poor. Both of her parents worked. She was middle class. Sure, she lived in the Bronx, but she was NOT exposed to the real tough streets with drug dealers, etc.

  22. 22

    Re: JessicaBella – OMG. LoL You are so stupid.

    You are sadly misinformed.

  23. 23

    it just to make good tv, americans are good at that. *look at this guy, he's from the worst place in the world and he has made it here.* of course the contestant uses this, to get sympathy votes

  24. 24

    First off.."Jenny from the Block" is NOT from the South Bronx. Shes from Castle Hill which is northern bronx..and a good area at that. I agree 100% with Ruban Diaz..as a born and raised bronx girl myself..The Bronx has come a LONG way in the past 2 decades. Crime has gone down and business has been booming. They have knocked down all old abandoned buildings and have turned projects into condo communities. Ofcourse..like every where else..you have your bad parts..and the bronx has its bad, ghetto parts..but very few now. If you have never lived in the bronx..dont judge it, especially from a 16 year old. He cant even wipe his own a$$. I can honestly say that in my 23 years living in NY, I have never been mugged, shot, robbed, or had any accident. I started having those when I moved to Orlando. Go figure!

  25. 25

    I think everyone and anyone finds something to complain about these days. The were portraying HIS LIFE, not the BRONX. Get your head out of your ass Ruben Diaz!

  26. 26

    I love in northern Manhattan, pretty close to the Bronx. While the norther part of the Bronx is pretty nice and suburban, the south Bronx is a shithole. Parts of it are literally like a 3rd world country. And Diaz is a corrupt politician.

  27. 27

    That's great that the Bronx has been revitalized. I still think of the borough I saw in the movie Fort Apache a bazillion years ago. AI happened to be showing the experience of this contestant. Deal with it.

  28. 28

    Clarification Diaz Jr is not the homophobic Diaz Sr is., funny thing both of his granddaughters are gay(personally know them). I live a few blocks away from where this kid lives and have been living in the Bronx for 30yrs and the one thing that bother about the story was that he made it seem like we have to jump over dead bodies when we come out our front door. Its the Bronx rough YES IT IS, but not even in 180 & Grand Conc are you dodging bullets they way it was made out to be in the story. It is known that candle makeshifts go up in front of the house were the deceased lived…no matter what the cause of the death was, but it is always ASSUMED that the person was killed.

  29. 29

    That his personal experience living there? Cant get mad about it.

  30. 30

    Wow, I guess the Bronx doesn't like to support the people of their city. I like how they're so infatuated with the "image" of their city that they overshadow the ENTIRE point. The kid was AMAZING, I absolutely loved his voice and what he said wasn't incriminating whatsoever. I'm from Vancouver… which has a HUGE population of drug addicts and crime, it's a known fact that shit like that goes on in life. GET THE FUCK OVER IT.

  31. 31

    Ok as a bronx Native i have to say that the story is about 60 % true. first of all the area he portrayed (Grand Councourse and 180) is close by the projects. and that area (south Side BX is not a nice area) same with the area i used to live (Hunts Point). but the area i live in now (Bronx Park East) is a great area only a bus ride away from the best neighborhoods in the bronx (parkchester, and fordham) and not every one is pleased with MR diaz over here either.

    BTW Im rooting for Travis this season

  32. 32

    That is soo true they made the Bronx appear like some scary warzone!!!
    I've been to many areas in this country LA which is sooooo disgusting make the Bronx look like 5th Ave…Yes I am from the boogie down Bronx!!!

  33. 33

    Re: xman66 – yep, Binghamton, NY looks way worse than the Bronx. The city looks like something from a Mad Max movie ever since some corporations closed down and people have moved out.

  34. 34

    Re: WMariah – Congrats to you for being hungry enough and the will power to provide yourself with a better life. That's not an easy thing to do. It's easier to be a victim and to to blame your surroundings.

  35. 35

    Preach it Perez! Finally i can agree with you.

  36. 36

    ummmm….whatever part of the BRONX you are from is the g.h.e.t.t.o, doesn't matter if it Castle Hill or the South side. Get over yourself "Clarkiesue"

  37. 37

    I HOPE RUBEN DIAZ JUMPS OFF A CLIFF!!! He is so damn stupid. Does he think that 16 year old is lieing? My friend use to live in the Bronx too and she moved because she couldnt stand hearing gun shots almost every night and being surrounded by gangs and violence in their neighborhoods.

  38. 38


  39. 39

    OMG…The problem is that this kid is GENERALIZING the entire Bronx based on his HOOD neighborhood. The Bronx is 110% better than what it used to be….WE are in 2011, not 1980….His neighborhood is bad because nothing but low lives live there…Grand Concourse is bad, but blame the people in that neighborhood for that, many of them have no jobs, sell drugs, stay home all day, make babies that are raised carelessly and abused and continue the cycle… if your neighborhood is bad, then take a closer look at why its bad…its not the entire borough's fault, its people not trying to help themselves and giving up on themselves… There are a TON of programs to help for FREE, but that's half the effort…the other is getting up and doing something…!!!

  40. 40


  41. 41


  42. 42

    Re: WMariah – dude go jump off a cliff! You probably fuck Ruben diaz and that is why you are defending him. My friend use to live in the bronx and she has experienced stuff similar to that Travis kid. It got so bad for her that she had to move even though she didn't have much money and was in no shape to move. She did it for her own safety. So shut the fuck up and return to kissing Ruben's ass fuckin idiot

  43. 43

    Re: lolli – you are thinking about the Reverend Ruben Diaz, SR, not the Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz, JR. Who is not homophobic or a religious nut.

  44. 44

    I believe that his biggest issue is the show milking the family's story to highlight negative and perceived stereotypes. Everyone knows that AI did that, leaving him for last and the entire walk through of his neighborhood, to milk the Jennifer Lopez thing, what with her being from the "ghetto" and all. I heard she grew up in Country Club, which is a fancy-schmancy Bronx neighborhood. But people only want to hear the rags to riches stories.

  45. 45

    How can someone disagree with another person’s opinion? This boy had to live a certain way and talked about it.. through his eyes.. I am sure Mr. Diaz lives comfortably but not everyone does… how arrogant and insensitive to speak out against this boy and the show.. shame on you Mr. Diaz! What a way to get some attention..

  46. 46

    this boy and his family seem like a lovely dedicated family. He could have focused on that..he could have said these are the families trying to do good and have fallen on hard times..instead waaah waah wahhh.

  47. 47

    I live near this area and he really is exaggerating, seriously the hanging phone????? its true what the congressman is saying…like they really wanted dramatic effect. I think the kid is mistaken for he lived in a shelter so that is where robber took place. I know the bronx is not perfect, there is drugs gangs, and etc but this dramatized everything with the music, and the clips.

  48. 48

    Re: Sarabx - Nah, J.Lo didnt grow up in Country Club…unfortunately country club is very richy richy..she went to school near country club..but she actually lived in Castle Hill. She grew up a few blocks away from me..in a nice house and middle class. Even though we are from the same area..shes SUPER ghetto. She cant even talk right. I think she tries too hard and wants people to know..shes from the BX. I think its all an act.

  49. 49

    ummmmmm jlos from the BX!! >:0

  50. 50

    and she went to a private catholic all girls high school…opeeee same school i went tooo!

  51. 51

    Re: vipa727 – I believe it's all an act as well, that's why people who are from The Bronx, (which is not a city onto itself people, it's one of the five boroughs that make up New York City) are offended. Lots of amazing talent has come from the Bronx and by focusing on a 16 y.o. kids story of living in a shelter (at least he wasn't on the streets!). The Bronx is not a wasteland, it even has museums, a zoo, a botanical garden… oh wait, it's just like Brooklyn and lots of white people live there so it can't be too bad right? In any case, the kid is super cute and he's got a decent voice. More talent than JLo but does he have the drive and commitment to scratch and claw her way to the top? We shall see this season on American Idol, with lame ass judges.

  52. 52

    yeah, visit the website, not the bronx itself or you might get shot!

  53. 53

    Um parts of the Bronx are still VERY dangerous. It's not a bad portrayal if places like that actually do exist, which they do.

  54. 54

    There are lower income families everywhere, he is recounting HIS experience as a lower-income child gorwing up in what just HAPPENS to be the Bronx. That's just embarassing for the Bronx president…think of how ashamed this poor kid must feel! He has a beautiful voice, you go Travis!

  55. 55

    Re: JessicaBella – Speaking from facts chica…i know her father very well..worked with the man for 10 years and she used to come by our office and office parties. So because they say it on Behind the Music ..it's a fact?….it's more like a crock of shit…now you go and get your facts straight…

  56. 56

    Re: Sweetness24 – Thanks Sweetness…miss JessicaBella swears she knows better just because she saw in on YouTube "Behind the Music"….hahahahhahahaha

  57. 57

    Re: JustSaying2u – Thank you.

  58. 58

    Re: Mushu Baby – You're a fucking idiot….if you carefully read my comment..you clearly would have read that I'm sure the kid has experienced such violence, etc….however, it's not a representation of the Bronx itself…but of the GHETTO in general.. i DON'T HAVE TO BE FUCKING RUBEN DIAZ IN ORDER TO DEFEND HIM..JUST COMMON SENSE, SOMETHING YOU LACK. HE'S ONLY BEEN IN OFFICE FOR LESS THAN TWO YEARS. NOW GO FUCK YOUR LITTLE MISERABLE SELF..BOO HOO…

  59. 59

    Re: justrandom222 – He and his family were homeless.. were you homeless? how do you know that he was exaggerating.. how stupid… He is a kid.. good lord..

  60. 60

    Re: WMariah – Wow.. what a weirdo.. the peace was from this kids eyes.. he showed places he has been and places he had to live.. they were not doing a documentary on the Bronx.. dummy.. it was the story from his eyes and how his family was homeless and living in the Bronx.. are you that insensitive where you cannot see the difference.. go away..

  61. 61

    Palm Beach County, FL has everything from the upper eschelons of corporate America on the Island to crime ridden Riviera Beach so bad it was featured in an HBO special on crack. America is diverse - just the way it is. Subject to the interpetation of the reviewer. I'm sure Diaz is the 1st to brag about the best of the Bronx, as well he should, but don't be in denial. Good for this kid! Glad he gets to experience something better. Win or lose, it will change his life!

  62. 62

    why does JHo try to act like shes from the hood and had it rough? She gives me gas,,,i still eat my rice n stuff bla blahblah….im sorry but her and steven tyler look like twins and are so bad for this show

  63. @#@ says – reply to this


    The thought of a sixteen year old spinning his personal reality to make some P.R. seeking guy happy just makes me shake my head. Imagine being so far gone that there's no concern whatsoever mentioned toward the boy or the reality of his life where he lives. It's not Idol's portrayal. It's the kid's story, and he says it's infected with drugs and violence. I guess they don't see it from inside the darkened windows of their BMW's. Mr. Outrage can put head back into rainbow colored ostrich hole now. Lalalalalala….

  64. 64

    Listen, I've been to the Bronx. And it could use a hell of a lot more work. That guy should be watching less American Idol and be working overtime to fix the borough.

  65. 65

    I come from the Bronx and I don't like how people act as if its a savage place to be. Like any town it has its good parts and its bad parts. I now live in Manhattan and I have witnessed more crime in this past year than I ever did in my 30 years living in the bx. As for Reuben Diaz, He's just polatickin! dueces!

  66. lolli says – reply to this


    Re: SaraBX – like father like son *shades down*