Spike Lee Goes Off About Gentrification in New York: "We Been Here"

Lee was speaking at a Black History Month event Tuesday.

Posted: 02/26/2014 10:52 AM EST
Spike Lee Goes Off About Gentrification in New York: "We Been Here"

It is no secret that Black neighborhoods around the country are being changed by gentrification, and director Spike Lee had no problem schooling someone at a Brooklyn event Tuesday about the effect it has had on New York City's Black neighborhoods in particular.

"I grew up here in New York. It’s changed," Lee said during an event at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, according to New York Magazine. "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?"

He also said there is more police protection, higher property and rent prices and better public schools, but only because of the increased presence of white people. After an audience member tried to give Lee the "other side" of gentrification, he continued to speak on how new residents come to Black neighborhoods with a "Christopher Columbus" syndrome — without respect to those who are already there.

"My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherf--kin’-sixty-eight, and the motherf--kin' people moved in last year and called the cops on my father." Lee said he is not against people coming to these neighborhoods but reiterated that there has been no respect for the culture that was present before they arrived. 

"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 s--t gotta change because you’re here?"

Does Spike Lee have a point?

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. 

Follow Natelege Whaley on Twitter: @Natelege.

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Videos You May Like

From Our Partners

Related Topics