Entertainment News

  • 27 February 2014, 19:51

Spike Lee In Profanity-Laced Rant On New York

Filmmaker Spike Lee has engaged in a profanity-laced debate about gentrification of largely black New York City neighbourhoods.

Lee, who grew up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, made his comments during a Black History Month speech at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

The Do The Right Thing director said gentrification had little regard for people who "have a culture that's been laid down for generations".

He railed against transformations seen in predominantly black neighbourhoods that he said occurred only after whites moved to the areas.

Lee said: "I grew up here in New York. It's changed.

"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?

"The garbage wasn't picked up every mother ******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park ... The police weren't around.

"When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers three o'clock in the morning on 125th Street that must tell you something."

He continued: "Then comes the mother ******* Christopher Columbus syndrome. You can't discover this! We been here."

The comments drew applause, but†some audience members said they understod why some of their neighbours could not pass up high offers for their homes.

In an interview with CNN, Lee clarified his remarks.

"I don't hate anybody. I think anybody is entitled to live where they want," he said.

"My problem is that when you move into a neighbourhood, have some respect for the history, for the culture."

The two-time Oscar nominee†lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side and recently listed his town house for $32m (£19.2m).

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