Some people don’t get Spike Lee. And he probably cares very little about that. In this modern age of political correctness and digital divide, folks tend to get all up in their feelings when people raise their voices. While at a gathering at the Pratt Institute, Lee told the audience, passionately, loudly, how he really feels about gentrification and what it has done to New York City.
"I grew up in Fort Greene. I grew up here in New York City. It’s changed. Why does it take the influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Crown Heights, in Bed-Stuy for the facilities to get better?” He said this while breaking down the fast changing demographic landscape in the city. “The garbage wasn’t picked up every m******f**** day when I lived at 165 Washington Park. P.S. 20 was not good, P.S. 11. Rothschild. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers at three o’clock in the morning on 125th St. that tells you something.”
Can you really blame him for feeling the way he does? These neighborhoods were once predominately Black or Hispanic, now they are filled with an ever increasing number of whites. There was a time when the police would not dare or care to go into some of these neighborhoods. In fact, there were many town hall meetings in which residents did all but beg for increased presence. But now? Cops are everywhere. At one time, the rents were affordable. Now? They are not, pushing black and brown lower and middle income families out, while hipsters roam in neighborhoods once filled with the heart of Latinos and African soul.
So we can’t blame Lee for being emotional about the onslaught of gentrification. While for some, it is progress putting money in the pockets of owners. For others, it represents an unfortunate change in NYC demographics that blatantly shows unfair protect and serve politics.
When some heard that Spike went on what many outlets are describing as a “expletive filled tirade” their opinion of Lee was likely affected greatly. But then again, many simply saw and understood the one thing that can always be expected from him: Truth. Straight. No-chaser. Raw and uncut screams for equality.
Check out the interview he did last night on Anderson Cooper 360: