We’ve both been ridiculed for our South Florida street talk. We both come from broken homes. We both got sent to a treatment program. But only one of us got a pay out, and I wish it was me.
Danielle “Cash Me Ousside” Bregoli and I have a lot in common. We even know some of the same people back home. Despite our parallels, we also have grave differences.
I was never rewarded for my supreme shit-talking skills or violent behavior. My dad was a crackhead and not a cop who paid $1000+ every month in child support. I got locked up in a mindfuck rehab when I was a jit* and they watched me shower, whereas Dr. Phil paid for Bregoli to tend horses on some serene ranch. I admit it, as flawed* as all that may be, I’m totes jelly.
Bregoli hails from Palm Beach County, Florida, which is where I grew up.
I was raised in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach–stomping grounds to the nefarious gang known for ambushing FBI agents with automatic weapons, the Top 6. I heard gunshots in broad daylight when I lived off of 6th Avenue South in the L-Dub. A pedophile rode his bike naked in front of me when I was planting marigolds in the front yard of that house. The projects down the street had boards over the windows and often my brother’s friend Grady didn’t have air conditioning that worked, which can be lethal and isn’t even legal in Florida.
Bregoli and her mom live in Boynton, but from what I’ve seen in videos, I doubt it’s the same part of Boynton I lived in, near Seacrest, where our neighbors were crack dealers in one direction and weed dealers in the other. But I in no way doubt she’s running with people who act hard*. It’s in her snaking neck and her octave-rising cadence. It’s in her greediness to flex*. Her neediness to put “hos” on blast. But at least she doesn’t condone drug abuse.
I ain’t mad at her for having money long before her web stardom. I can tell she is a true Palm Beach County girl when I see her get in people’s grill*. Even though Bregoli may think and feel she is supremely trill*, she’s a product of that harsh South Florida environment, where everyone wants to fuck you or fuck you up. Especially if you’re young. It’s a tropical swampland full of snakes that feed on innocence. Now she’s a snake-person hybrid. She’s a hydra. That can afford a Spyder.
But for real, though, I can’t help but envision the long-term negative effects viral fame will have on Bregoli. Life’s peril humbled me, but it’s only feeding her “character” instead of helping her build character. She recently popped off* to some people in Lake Worth and then ran away, even though the bar was outdoors and they were ready and able to cash her ousside.
What the hell do I know? She’s making tens of thousands of dollars for appearances right now. I work three jobs six days a week.
What I do know is that anyone who mocks her is part of the problem. Including, and especially, Dr. Phil.
The following text is my transcription from Bregoli’s initial appearance on the Dr. Phil show. It exemplifies something I’ve been fighting my entire life—being shamed for talking street.
Dr. Phil: What now? I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Are you speaking English?
Danielle Bregoli: [Laughs, claps]
Dr. Phil: Do you have an accent of some sort?
Barbara Bregoli: Tell him where it comes from. You know.
Danielle Bregoli: [Laughs] From the streets.
[Go to 1:20 on the video to listen for yourself]
Yes, we talk differently than you. But don’t think for a second it makes you better than us.
We may laugh and clap and be all—“ohhh shit, whatchu know bou dah?”—but really we feel alienated and that alienation validates our antipathy for authority.
Public shaming won’t make Bregoli change how she talks or acts. The troll attacks on her are disgraceful, but I still can’t condone her behavior or how she is rewarded for it with a small fortune. Yet, I don’t blame her. I would’ve hammed it up for the cash, too.
*Street lexicon, words in order of appearance
All words are general street slang, except SFL means a word is specific to South Florida.
Jit: (noun) Short for jitterbug. Teen. Kid. SFL
Flawed: (verb) Having a character flaw. Lame. Fake. The opposite of trill. SFL
Hard: (adverb) Acting tough. Unfeeling. Cruel. Rude. Selfish.
Flex: (verb) To flex or tense one’s body in a confrontational stance, especially in front of an enemy. Could also be an abstract flex, such as through verbal conflict.
Grill: (noun) A person’s face. Could also reference the mouth or a gold mouth piece.
Trill: (adjective) Authentic. Real. Similar to what “true” means in black metal subculture. Also said as “trilla.” SFL
Popped off: (verb) A confrontational posturing, often strictly verbal, that usually results in an altercation. Could be a physical or verbal fight.
This essay originally appeared in Exotic Magazine, April 2017.