Anonio Ervin’s airbnb sits on the historic Jefferson Street in Nashville.

By Barbie Evans

NASHVILLE, TN — The Black House is hammered down with honor, constructed with culture, designed with daring to make a bold statement of Black ownership, wealth, and legacy. The windows are bare because the creator and owner of this home is a firm believer that black in its truest form requires no accoutrements. Service in all its forms is of the utmost importance to Antonio Ervin. He gives back to his community, his country, family, and culture in mentoring, teaching, and leading by example.

Antonio Earvin

This proverbial beacon of light is located in the newly reconstructed neighborhoods in North Nashville. Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the house and meet the owner. It took no time at all to realize that this residence is more than just a home to Ervin. It is built with purpose and passion. It sits directly across the street from the historic Carnegie North Branch Library. He calls the building of his home, Diversifying Gentrification.

Gentrification has a silent clause that speaks volumes to longtime residents of these reconstructed neighborhoods. That clause says to them, to get out. Putting his resources where his heart and beliefs are, Ervin built the former resident his own living space inside the home as well. The home that was once on this plot of land was once the place that Ervin used to go as a young boy to get his hair cut. Making sure that his longtime respected elder had a place to call his own was literally drawn into the blueprint. 

Below he lists 4 of the 5 most important attributes that he lives by.

1.Confidence to know I can make things happen.

2. Intelligence and Smarts. Having an open ear to always learning more and more to know how to make things happen.

3.Belief in always giving back up and down the spectrum. 

4. An honest and morale financial hustle.

Financial stability takes hard work. It takes willingness and execution to go after building a legacy and generational wealth.

To celebrate Mr. Ervin’s housewarming, I also had the honor of writing and performing a poem. Below are a few lines.

Diversifying Gentrification

Many states have already decided to water down and stamp out the Blackness of the Nation’s education. 

Therefore, this home shall be our classroom, 101 Diversifying Gentrification

We did not need new houses. We asked you to stop shooting us in the streets. 

Red blood still rolls down the gray concrete, while you pick out new colors to paint over our projects. Maybe they will be Teal, Nude, or Peach.

We built this for free, and now you are tearing it down.

We yell, “Injustice”, but you are allergic to the sound.

And you keep naming our streets, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King.

So, during rezoning you can easily X us out.

This is more than fixtures on land.

It’s a Light House.

Built Black as Night, so during the day,

From any angle, she can easily be pointed out.

With all her legacy, history, heritage, significance, strength, pain, power…her curves and thickness on tilt.

This is the house that Blackness Unapologetically Built.

The 5th most important attribute to Ervin is the bedrock of the Black House and what it stands for. That is being, UNAPOLOGETICLY BLACK. Included in this, is being dedicated to giving back to his community and having a deep love and respect for his people and his culture. A home is where the heart is, and this home is now where heritage is.