Reid’s Records

Paige Taul
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PaigeTaul_ReidsRecords.mp4 [00:00:01] David Reid Well I mean back in the day we probably would have, I came back to run the store in the early 1990s. And I believe we had probably had about six or seven employees at that point. And we would have two cash registers going and people would be coming in every Friday after work all through the weekend. [00:00:23] We had tickets for all kinds of concerts, and you know, Reid's was kind of like the happening place for all the newest music that's coming out. When people were dependent on actual physical product. So we were bustling. [00:00:39] Christmastime probably would be the busiest time of year. I mean we'd just be from start to finish from sunup to sundown, we would just be swamped in here. People coming from all over the Bay Area. I think Reid's (sigh), I don't think Reid's is so much critical to Oakland or to Berkeley or the Bay Area. I think Reid's story is mostly one of longevity and service. And that a black enterprise can thrive and be supported by the black community, not being reliant on any other. Because I mean if it wasn't for African American clientele here, Reid's would not have existed, and it would not exist today. I mean I was, back in the 90s, I was like the number one choir robe seller for Murphy Cap and Gown in California. [00:01:38] And, I basically had no white choirs ask me for robes. I mean they wore robes, but they tended to gravitate to where they wanted to gravitate. So its always been probably 98 percent black clientele that have supported this store for 74 years and I think that's, that's, to be commended not by Reid's, but by by our community. [00:02:05] The neighborhood in the last, I would say, oh goodness since the probably mid-90s has changed dramatically. South Berkeley was basically a black enterprise zone, and a black, basically black neighborhoods. And it has changed, gentrification has taken over. All the most main black businesses have gone and have been replaced by housing or were just not replaced. So it's kind of like the area has gone the way the demographic has changed. Berkeley, South Berkeley, is no longer mainly a black neighborhood anymore. [00:02:52] It's like I said, it's been gentrified. So there is very few black businesses here that was left. [00:03:00] Back in the day we had doctors and lawyers and restaurants, of course pool halls. I mean there was things going on up and down the street 24 hours a day. But now it's become very quiet. And culturally very sparse. [00:03:21] My prayer for future generations is to not make the mistakes, to allow the same things that happened to you that have been happening to my generation and generations previously. African Americans, I know we've achieved a lot of things in a lot of ways but, uh, it's with gentrification, there's no where you can point where we are. I mean if you go to any city nowadays and you go to look Martin Luther King Boulevard. There's none of us there. We don't live there anymore. It's like a tombstone. This is where black people used to be. And I think that's a tragedy.

While filming, I was most interested in learning how Reid’s Records, a gospel music store in Berkeley, California related to the history of its surrounding neighborhood. Reid’s, which offers up a particular brand of South Berkeley hospitality, has for decades been a gathering space for those brought together by the love of vinyl and gospel culture. It has functioned as much as a social site as a business. During my visits, customer foot traffic was sparse and reflected the evolution of the neighborhood. The once majority black population has disappeared rapidly over the last decade as a result of gentrification. Owner, David Reid laments over the evolution of the consumption of music from records to digital streaming. This film was not only an effort to preserve, but honor the space and the people it represents. The Reid family has played a significant role in the production and consumption of gospel music in the Bay Area, and the larger international scene. It was a comfort and pleasure to talk to a Californian who knew a different Berkeley. As the city continues to drastically change, hopefully Reid’s Records will remain a constant.

Project Contributors

Paige Taul

Paige Taul

MFA Candidate, Film

Paige Taul is an Oakland, CA native who received her B.A in Studio Art with a concentration in cinematography from the University of Virginia in 2018. She currently attends the University of Illinois at Chicago for her M.F.A. Her work focuses on themes of blackness in relation to self and family.

Claudrena N. Harold

Claudrena N. Harold

Professor and Chair, History and African American and African Studies

In 2007, Harold published her first book, The Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918-1942. Her latest monograph is New Negro Politics in the Jim Crow South, which was published by the University of Georgia Press. In 2018, she and Louis Nelson coedited the volume, Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity. As a part of her ongoing work on the history of black student activism at UVA, she wrote, produced, and co-directed with Kevin Everson six short films: Sugarcoated Arsenic, Fastest Man in the State, 70 kg, U. Of Virginia, 1976, How Can We Ever Be Late, and We Demand. These films have screened at the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum, and film festivals around the world.

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