Film director Spike Lee went on an epic rant about the gentrification of New York City, arguing against the development of poorer neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Harlem. Lee went off on an audience member at Pratt Institute who defended the changes in neighborhoods. The question was raised in response to a recent New York Times article that lauded the benefits of gentrification.
Um, forgive me if I am wrong, but doesn’t Spike Lee live on New York City’s Upper East Side, where he leads a quieter life?
Lee said to the unidentified questioner, “Let me just kill you right now.” “Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It’s like a motherf***ing Westminster Dog Show.”
More of Spike Lee’s jabs: ’My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherf*****’-sixty-eight, and the motherf*****’ 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 motherf*****’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherf*****’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the f*** outta here!’
‘You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherf*****’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.’
‘I’m for democracy and letting everybody live but you gotta have some respect. You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations and you come in and now s*** gotta change because you’re here? Get the f*** outta here. Can’t do that!’
‘The black American population in New York City is going down because of… reverse migration and what we have and – and its something that de Blasio’s going to, I mean he can’t get the snow off the ground but still- what we need is affordable housing for everybody.’
The bottom line is if Spike Lee really cared about maintaining his ‘black neighborhoods,’ he wouldn’t have moved to the mostly white and fabulously wealthy Upper East Side.