Famed film director Spike Lee burst into an expletive-filled rant when an audience member posed a question regarding the gentrification of the New York boroughs at an African-American History Month lecture on Tuesday held at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute.
Lee, who was raised in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, claims that it is no longer the same place he grew up in. Clad in a casual attire that included a “Defend Brooklyn” hoodie and a Knicks beanie, the “Do the Right Thing” director cut off the audience member after being asked about the “other side of gentrification”. He snapped “Let me kill you right now” and proceeded to discuss a New York Times article about the benefits of gentrification.
Spike Lee "kills" a man in Brooklyn
For seven minutes, Lee went on an impassioned rant about the drastic improvements that have taken place in many parts of New York ever since more white residents started moving in. His speech also expressed resentment toward the “Christopher Columbus Syndrome”, which he says is shown by the gradual eradication of the neighborhood’s customs and traditions, as well as the changing of some of the neighborhood’s names.
The audience member – Brooklyn resident and director of the Brooklyn Innovation Center, D.K. Smith – tried a few times to interject Lee’s rant, but was unsuccessful. The outspoken director appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 to explain his tirade. Lee said that although he is not entirely opposed to new people inhabiting formerly poor areas, he believes that they ought to have “respect for the history and culture” when moving into the neighborhood.
CNN was able to speak with Smith regarding Lee’s claims and he said that while he does not completely disagree with Lee, he feels “tired of moaning and groaning about being black”. Smith, an African-American, also said that gentrification gives black Americans a huge opportunity for economic improvement by virtue of the skyrocketing real estate prices.
D.K. Smith responds to Spike Lee's rant
Image via YouTube