According to the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, between 2000 and 2010 Brooklyn has been in one of the most drastic circumstances of gentrification in the five boroughs.
The complexion of the following neighborhoods, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and Gowanus, and Crown Heights North, have all changed drastically shifting the culture, drastically shifting demographics: an increase of between 6,700 and 15,600 white residents, paired with a simultaneous decrease in Black residents (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights North), Latino residents (Williamsburg), or both (Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and Gowanus).
Numbers don’t lie and may only give a small glimpse of gentrification. Artists like Remi Salaam and Bilal have used their gifts to provide a visual to this phenomenon that has displaced thousands of Black and Latinos.
In their new video, “Coming Outta The Rain,” Bilal after spending a day in Prospect Park comes face to face with a new Brooklyn Karen, who calls the cops on him for simply Blacking in public. In a simulated drama, she is seen calling the police in the same manner that the white Amy Cooper called authorities on Harvard grad and Black man, Christian Cooper.
Bilal, who is working out in the video, presents himself just as harmless as Cooper. This excerpt might also be compared to the summer incident involving Hamptons restaurateur, Svitlana Flom, who came under fire calling the police on a Black woman for “threatening” her children, though videos surfaced of the incident showing that she was not … again another person of color caught ‘Blacking in public.’
Salaam Remi’s music underlies Bilal’s jazzy lyrics — and paints a lazy experience that seems to be coming together brightly after a storm. As the music video chronicles him strolling through the park, enjoying the day, working out, and clearing his mind, something seems off, topsy turvy. But it immediately comes clear when a woman demands that he leaves her Brooklyn … “It is our neighborhood now!”
Biggie’s Brooklyn, if you stroll down any street and according to the research, is now Becky’s. And musicians, artists, and advocates are clear, this is a problem.