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Topic: In The News
Submitted By: 1boss
Date Submitted: 02-25-14


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Spike Lee Goes Off About Gentrification ( The Moving Around Of Poor People )

 

 

 

 

Speaking Tuesday night in Brooklyn, blocks away from his company headquarters and his father’s apartment, Spike Lee went off on how the neighborhood has changed. The filmmaker, wearing a Knicks beanie, orange socks, blue Nikes, and "Defend Brooklyn" hoodie, was at Pratt Institute for a lecture in honor of African American History Month, surrounded by locals, when he was nearly asked a question about “the other side” of the gentrification debate. “Let me just kill you right now,” Lee interrupted, “because there was some bullshit article in the New York Timessaying ‘the good of gentrification.’” (See: “Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood” and New York’s “Is Gentrification All Bad?”)

“I don’t believe that,” said Lee. And for the next seven minutes he explained, with passion, humor, and a fair amount of f-words.

Here’s the thing: I grew up here in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York. It’s changed. And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the south Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.

[Audience member: And I don’t dispute that…]

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. And even more. Let me kill you some more.

[Audience member: Can I talk about something?]

Not yet.

Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!


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