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Michael Rapaport responds to Spike Lee’s comment on gentrification in Brooklyn. Rapaport, a well known actor and director, is not in his colleagues corner when it comes to Lee’s recent comments speaking out against the gentrification of his neighborhood. Rapaport has worked with Lee before, in one of Lee’s most famous films, Bamboozled.
Spike Lee, a notable director in his own right, made a controversial statement last February. Lee spoke openly about gentrification and the internal displacement of people who have lived in Brooklyn by a largely white, middle to upper class folks, now claiming Brooklyn as their chosen home.
“You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart,” The filmmaker went on to say, “So, why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? Why’s there more police protection in Bed-Stuy and Harlem now? Why’s the garbage getting picked up more regularly? We been here!”
According to the Grio, Rapaport refutes Lee’s comments, speaking about the fact that Lee happens to live in one of the nicer areas of Brooklyn, “I mean, Spike lives on the Upper East Side. If the people that donated money to Spike Lee’s last film saw the apartment that he lives in, they’d bug out. So I don’t know what he’s talking about…Brooklyn got better. And he’s making money off the fact that it got better,”
Others have also joined in to call out this economic contradiction surrounding Lee speaking out against gentrification. Actor and Captain American Star Anthony Mackle refutes, “I live in Brooklyn. My address is in Brooklyn. I have two restaurants in Brooklyn. I don’t have a problem with gentrification. The people who want to live in Brooklyn, move to Brooklyn.”
He added: “Some people might say when Spike moved to Manhattan, that was a type of reverse gentrification. As your tax brackets changes, I guess your zip code changes.”
Tell us where you stand on the issue in the comments section below. Does Lee make any valid points? Do you agree with Rapaport? Let us know your thoughts.
Itoro Udofia is a first generation Nigerian writer, educator and singer/songwriter. You can find her work and follow her at http://www.itoroudofia.com/