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Wearing “Defend Brooklyn” proudly on his sweater, iconic filmmaker Spike Lee had some choice for the hipsters taking over Brooklyn, NY while speaking at Pratt Institute for Black History Month.

“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 motherfuckin’ day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good. P.S. 11. Rothschild 294. 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.”


This was Lee’s response when asked about the “good of gentrification.” He went on to relate the hipster takeover that is occurring in Brooklyn to that of Christopher Columbus stealing America from the Native Americans. Lee, a Brooklyn native, thought back to a time when there was no policy set forth to protect the people of color, who are now victims of high costs of living, in a time when it was truly needed.

For example, he states:

There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father… he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!

With legitimate, personal experiences fueling his apparent rage, Spike Lee is not alone in his argument. Kerry Drew, a FOX 5 reporter spoke to an unnamed Brooklynite about his thoughts on Lee’s remarks. He went on to say “Most people I know that grew up here, no longer live here because they can’t afford it.”

-Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)

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