Belfast Telegraph

Lee slams gentrification

Spike Lee suggests he doesn’t believe there is a “good side” to gentrification.

The Do The Right Thing filmmaker gave an impassioned speech at Pratt Institute in celebration of Black History Month when he was asked by an audience member about the “other side” of gentrification.

According to New York Magazine, Spike spent the next seven minutes ranting about hipsters, real-estate agents and wealthy individuals who claim to have “discovered” gritty parts of the city, going as far to rename neighbourhoods like the South Bronx to the more trendy “SoBro” and Bushwick to “East Williamsburg”.

"Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It's like the motherf**king Westminster dog show,” he fumed.

He also lamented that not long ago, few people cared about keeping up the neighbourhoods.

“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 motherf**kin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294,” he insisted.

“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.”

“Then comes the motherf**kin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here,” he said.

After the tirade, which New York Magazine noted was spoken with humour, Spike allowed the audience member to make his point. But not before offering a challenge.

“All right, go ahead. Let’s see you come back to that,” he added.

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From Belfast Telegraph