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08/05/2012 / Chika Dunu

Brooklyn Boheme BANGS

The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted Brooklyn Boheme in a double feature with Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It as part of BAMcinematek series, “Brooklyn Close-Up.”

Directed by Nelson George and Diana Paragas, viewers are taken on a reminiscent journey of the pre-gentrified days of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, through many conversations, and with an aerial viewpoint, that pans the beauty of tree lined neighborhoods of expensive brownstones.

Narrated by George, who enlists his celebrity friends in Chris Rock, Rosie Perez, Spike Lee, among others, all speak nostalgically of their days in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, during a time that was artistically creative and freeing. ”

George, who holds most of his interviews on the benches in and around Fort Greene Park sits with Rosie Perez, recalling all the fun she had attending Wesley Snipes’ parties (whose parties are said to have been bigger than P. Diddy’s at the time). “Wesley’s parties was so off the hook, that sometimes I used to get scared,” the actress recalls with a laugh. “Like what the hell is gonna go down tonight?”

Chris Rock who takes a walk on his old stomping ground along with Nelson encounters a white female who now lives in his old apartment, which ironically show times have changed. A place that was once brimming with artistic creativity was no longer. It was now an expensive section of Brooklyn that was coveted by out of townees new to the city. This is synonymous to gentrification.

Spike Lee who refers to the emergence of gentrification as the “Christopher Columbus Syndrome,” rhetorically asks how can you discover something that’s already there, responding with “get the f-ck outta here!”

Either way gentrification is on the rise. Former residents are returning to their old stomping grounds and everything seems unrecognizable. Newcomers who knew nothing about what made Brooklyn special are looking for places to stay in the borough. Perez doesn’t know if she’ll leave, for it’s been her dream to live in Fort Greene. Spike Lee has left and so has Chris Rock.

Rock and Lee had the beautiful choice to decide whether they would leave or stay. For most, they are being told to “get the f-ck outta here!”

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