Last night, Spike Lee, never one to bite his tongue, went off when he was asked about the gentrification of his beloved Brooklyn during an event at Pratt Institute. Lee expressed every sentiment that he could possibly muster up as to why he’s sick of the hipster gentrifyers that are practically taking over the borough.

In the the seven minute long rant, that was transcribed by NY Mag, Lee appropriately compares the hipsters to Christopher Columbus:

“Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ 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 shit gotta change because you’re here?”

Here are a few other bullet points from the NY Mag transcription:

“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? Why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park… 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.”

“When Michael Jackson died they wanted to have a party for him in motherfuckin’ Fort Greene Park and all of a sudden the white people in Fort Greene said, ‘Wait a minute! We can’t have black people having a party for Michael Jackson to celebrate his life. Who’s coming to the neighborhood? They’re gonna leave lots of garbage.’ Garbage? Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It’s like the motherfuckin’ Westminster Dog Show. There’s 20,000 dogs running around.”

[After discussing people not being able to afford Williamsburg anymore…] “These real estate motherfuckers are changing names! Stuyvestant Heights? [SpaHa] What the fuck is that? What do they call Bushwick now? How you changin’ names?”

Ironically, if I replace the word Brooklyn, with Washington, D.C. the same thing still applies. As I scream, “What the f*ck is the ATLAS DISTRICT?”. 

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  • JMac

    Black folks LOVE to blame ‘others’ for our circumstance as if we have no power to control our destiny! People are literally dying to come to this country to take advantage of the opportunities America affords us all. Yet we constantly, year after year, generation after generation, piss our opportunities away as we blame others for EASILY dominating us! Spike has a right to be pissed, but his anger should be directed at those fail to educate themselves and acquire the necessary skills to compete on the worlds stage!

  • Deb

    Gentrification is occurring rapidly in many US cities that are still thriving after the economic recession. In some places (like Houston), it’s going to straight to yuppies.

  • seanithanegan

    As a white hipster who’s been living in Flatbush for over a year now I have to say you’re all thinking too deep into our motives for moving into “your” neighborhood. It’s a nice neighborhood. Lots of good Caribbean/Jamaican food. There’s fun block parties on Flatbush in the summer. Close to Prospect Park. Drum circle in the park all the time. Also – when moving to NYC from Florida (a move I’ve wanted to do my whole life) this was the most affordable and nicest neighborhood around.

    I’m not moving in to move people out. I just like the place. As a person who lives in the neighborhood you love is that so hard to believe?

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  • kyle

    “Fear of a Hipster Planet”