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Another Actor Calls Out Spike Lee’s Gentrification Remarks

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rapaport spike leeMichael 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/

14 Comment

  1. I am 50/50 on this topic, I mean when white middle or upper class move into mostly urban populated community things do change for the better but they also have a downside to that too meaning people who were there first are usually force to move for many reasons one being unable to afford that place anymore. I said this statement 5years ago that all the major big cities where going to experience this movement called "gentrification"! And it started with DC and now I want you all pay attention to how they are setting Detroit up for the next movement and first it starts with killing job markets out there and then removing all the funding from that city…

  2. Spike lee is not lying I am from that hood and everything he is saying is gospel

  3. I agree with spike, additionally gentrification is taking place everywhere there are large populations of black people. Sure the dominant society moving in these neighborhoods bring better quality of living but none of it is for us thats why we gotta get out. Whats funny about all this is how most of our neighborhoods are war zones. The police and judicial system always lack the resourses to better protect us and our children but somehow during the gentrification process white people never fall victim to any of the elements that made it unsafe for and our children. What resources are being pulled together that weren’t available prior to them moving in.

  4. HE makes a very good point… but again we have to own our homes or buildings within our neighborhoods and come together to keep it clean and demand better education for our children. Remember we can own the schools, grocery stores, etc….

  5. When we as a people eliminate the “hood,” mindset an start developing a community one then we will have grounds to stand on. How about some accountability within ourselves and ditching a slave mindset and counter productive habits that we define as being black. Give me one area where we live as a people that is not defined as a ” hood. ” Lets not use white society as a scapegoat either. We seem to always have time and money to behave ignorantly. The following are examples

    1. Supporting Christian Preachers although they do nothing for our communities but much for themselves and their families.
    2. We embrace Niggardom
    3. Spend too much time encouraging our offspring to be Entertainers.
    4. Too disenfranchised and apathetic about it.
    5. Do not hold people Accountable.
    6. Refuse to ditch European Theological Concepts and Ideas
    7. Being Eurocentric

  6. It seems Mr. Lee is speaking of the past and how it was and know how it is. True statement. There was a change

  7. So what Spike lives on the Upper East Side he still owns several properties in Bklyn. gentrification is fucking life up for the average working class person for the wealthy. Would you pay $3,000 for a one bedroom? 16 years ago they wouldn't live nowhere near Blacks. Now they're damn near moving every black and brown person out! What's so good about that?

  8. Michael Rappaport SHUT THE F*CK UP! He got that news from The Daily News about Spike living on the Upper East Side

  9. Gentrification caters to the majority–the people who can afford to pay the high rent and for that soy latte. It's the catering I don't like. My other issue is some POC's inability to realize that the way you treat your community is the way, people will treat you. This is why gentrification is so easy for the majority to accept. Why not take over a neighboorhood and make it look pretty, when the people who are living there don't care. However, the city doesn't care to help educate the people of the neighboorhood nor fix the surroundings UNTIL there is money in it. POC have to.come together. The Hassdics will buy up a block open their own stores catering to the interest of their people. We need to take a lesson from that. Im not calling for segregation but we need to take more action in our communities. Attend a community board meeting with your local precinct. Attend the public school board meetings. Shout, kick and scream for ownership of what is rightfully yours . We are digressing as a people.

  10. Who really cares spike could have brought all of brooklyn…Made it into something but big bussiness always takes the hood and makes it good.

  11. If Spike really had a problem with gentrification in Brooklyn why doesn't he live there? I see gentrification happening in SF too, even though the racial and cultural history is much different, but if it is really about maintaining the culture then why doesn't spike buy up property in Brooklyn himself? I think it does matter where you live currently, if you're going to complain about the people who live in your "hometown". If he doesn't live there then Spike has no claim to that land and anyone who can afford it should be able to buy it.

  12. Living in a nice area costs money. Police don't work for free and when the residents of a city are low income then that city likely won't have the resources to fully staff and train a reliable police force. When you start having wealthier people move in then thanks to our income based tax system, the rich give out more money to public services. And then, guess what? Those services go back to providing better roads, schools, sanitation, public resources, etc. Also, when the "culture" of an area is inherently violent or known to be associated with high levels of crime, why is that something you want to maintain? I'm sure if it was really nice in Brooklyn before Jay Z and Spike wouldn't have felt such a strong desire to leave there once they got famous. To complain now about gentrification after he not only moved away willingly, but to also decry the change in culture as if the previous culture was ideal is idiotic. I met Spike, I appreciate Spike, I understand his passion and his love for the place he grew up. But I personally disagree and believe that if he feels so strongly about it then he should move back to Brooklyn himself or work toward providing affordable housing using his own immense wealth instead of blaming others for finding a place to live while continuing to hold his courtside tickets acting high and mighty. Might've lost sight of what "Do(ing) the right thing" is…

  13. Gentrification is like water seeking its own level.

    Money drives life and when the loss time and cost of living miles from the center of the business is prohibitive and the center of the business area has fallen into dis-repair the area becomes subject to an investment of money into renewal. The massive amount of money needed for gentrification is far greater than is available to those that live in the targeted area.

    No one is going to expect those individuals with enough money to invest in the renewed area to live among those with less income thus the cycle begins.

    Many well off Blacks will move into the new re-gentrified area as well as other ethnics and racial groups!

    The really rich will fly into town from their mansions in their helicopters and will not care who lives where!

  14. To the Nigerian brother talking smack? Shut up! No matter who you are, we ALL pay taxes for city services so it shouldn't matter what you are, you should get the services your taxes deserve! Better schools, roads, trash pick up, police protection. The people wh ohave lived in Brooklyn have been there all along and pay their taxes. They're entitled to all that, not just now becasue there's a higher tax bracket community in the community! No matter what the demographics, there's no reason to improve the community now that there seems ot be a vested interest in it…plenty of generations are still in Brooklyn holding down properties and taking care of theirs the best they could but having to do w/o and making things happen for themselves. Now that the strong have survived, the others come in, spread some money around and all of sudden there's a name change, your community becomes an acronym and there are sidewalk cafes all over the place. Same thing's been happening in Harlem. thise French bistros aren't there for our African brothers and sisters that's for sure! We aren't supporting them and they still thrive…why is that? They aren';t there to support us! They have their own clientele….I'm sick of it myself and sad for my people beasue we could not see he significance of purchasing property.

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