Seattle’s Street Ambassador Looks Towards 2021
For residents of Seattle’s Central District and Rainier Valley, the sight of Bubby Anthony’s 1979 Chevy Caprice “glasshouse” brings a welcome feeling of nostalgia. Happy memories of a simpler time in Seattle; when cruising Broadway, Rainier Ave, and Seward Park was the thing to do.
Behind the wheel, Bubby Anthony also reminisces about the old days, playing street ball in Rainier Vista, tagging bus lines, Rotary Club dances and carrying crates of records for the local DJ. Very few in Seattle have roots that run as deep as Bubby’s do. He too, is an old school classic.
Aka Bubskie, his family moved to Seattle in 1974, settling in the Central District, where he would build lifelong friendships with some of Seattle’s most notorious, yet beloved, artists and antiheroes, such as the legendary Spaide, DadOne, Duck, Shame, Tate, and Danny Molino. Throughout the 80s, Bubby and the OTB crew made their mark across the city in word, deed, fat caps and spray cans.
As the breakdancers of the early 80s matured into young men, many turned to selling drugs as a way to make quick cash. The introduction of crack cocaine to the market put many on a fast-track to the hustlers’ lifestyle that could make you rich, if you could survive it.
“Bubby found himself throwing rights and lefts like something out of the Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon carving a way through a gauntlet of fevered zombies…”
Bubby was caught up. Recruited by established players from the Vista and Holly Park, the product was easy to obtain, and the customer base grew at a rapid rate. But as fast as the money came, so did the violence.
For those living in Seattle at the time, the stories of “Bubskie” became folklore, with kids from every neighborhood comparing notes of what had transpired at the community center, bowling alley, or right there on the street corner.
Stories of fistfights, gunfire, car chases and crashes followed Bubby wherever he went.
Sometimes Bubby was the heavy, but more often he was the hero; like when he saved a family from being jumped at Pritchard Park in South Seattle. From his vehicle, Bubby saw a woman he knew being manhandled by a large group of men.
Ignoring the instinct to drive on, Bubby made his way into the crowd and to the woman at its center. As the men moved in to prevent their escape, Bubby found himself throwing rights and lefts like something out of the Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon carving a way through a gauntlet of fevered zombies in order to get her to safety. Swinging for what seemed like an eternity, Bubby began to feel the weight of his fists and the
exhaustion setting in. Then, just moments before being overwhelmed, a patrol car happened by and disrupted the melee, causing the assailants to scatter into the brush.
As Bubby wrestled with the light/dark duality of being, his decision to choose a side was likely helped along when rival drug dealers showered him in a storm of bullets. Miraculously, every shot missed Bubby, althought his friend was hit. Luckily, not life threatening. The experience caused Bubby to consider whether the money was worth the risk. It wasn’t.
Bubby decided to work smarter, not harder. He looked round at what his peers were doing, and how some were making legitimate money starting their own businesses. His good friend Rob Ross had started Penny Pinchin’ Records, and the DJ that he at one time carried record crates for had just gone platinum with a song called Baby Got Back.
Today, Bubby and his wife Carolene live in Tacoma. But despite the new address, Bubby stays connected to his childhood friends and to the neighborhoods he was raised in; showing a genuine concern for what is happening in Seattle’s CD and Rainier Valley; areas that continue to see the highest incidents of youth on youth assaults and shootings.
Bubby supports the idea that there should be more resources for police officers, including mental health specialists and drug counselors that can better engage those on the street. Bubby himself is doing his part by speaking at youth outreach events aimed at reaching at-risk and opportunity kids.
“These kids know if you’re real or not. They want to know why you’re there and whether or not you really care. They also want to see that you understand where they are coming from. Broken homes, abuse, peer pressure. The daily hustle, the grind, street life, street code, loyalty, sell-outs. They’ve don’t need another fake-friend.”