Harrison Jacobs
February 26, 2014

Film director Spike Lee was speaking at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for Black History Month last night when an audience member asked for his opinion about “the other side” of the gentrification debate.

Lee responded with a 7-minute expletive-filled rant about New York City’s gentrification. He decried what he called the “Christopher Columbus Syndrome” in trendy, rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like Harlem and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn that wealthy white people purportedly believe they “discovered.” From his rant:

Then comes the motherf—ing’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherf—ing’ African drums in Mount Morris Park [in Harlem] for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud …

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