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?”.