Here’s the thing about gentrification.
The upside is that there is more police presence, better public schools, your trash will get picked up, but there’s a downside. I’m not going to make a generalization. But, in many cases, when people move in they have this Christopher Columbus syndrome. There’s a great tradition [and] heritage in Harlem, Fort Greene and Bed-Stuy. You just can’t come in and blow up the spot like you been there forever.
My father is a great jazz musician, Bill Lee. Did the scores for She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and Mo Better Blues. He’s been playing music in our home [in Fort Greene] since 1969. Now, some neighbor moved in, they’re calling the cops on my father saying he’s playing his music too loud. That’s some bullshit.
No one has ever complained, since 1969, about my father playing his jazz music. Now, this new person moves in, they calling the cops? The cops laugh at them! It’s that type of attitude man. That’s not making good neighbors. That’s not coming in the neighborhood being humble.
Mount Morris Park in Harlem. For years, brothers have played African drums on Sunday morning. Now…they’re gone. That’s disrespectful.
You go to Fort Greene today, it’s unrecognizable. Bed-Stuy do or die. Harlem. Lower East Side. DC’s not Chocolate City anymore.
Everybody in the Lower East Side, they moved to Williamsburg. Particularly, my Puerto Rican brother and sisters, they can’t afford Williamsburg anymore because of hipsters. They moved to Bushwick; pretty soon Bushwick is going to be like Williamsburg. After Coney Island there is nowhere else. After the beach at Coney Island, it’s the motherfucking Atlantic Ocean!”
- Spike Lee (via dreamsactualized)