*Spike Lee may have been silent regarding the criticism he’s gotten for speaking on Brooklyn’s gentrification, but the filmmaker brought all his pent up emotion to WhoSay social network as he responded to an essay from New York Times film critic A.O. Scott.
Much of Lee’s response concerned Scott’s claim that the “Do the Right Thing” director could not criticize Brooklyn’s gentrification because he no longer resides there.
“Mr. Scott, what you fail to understand is that I can live on The Moon and what I said is still TRUE,” Lee stated Monday in his open letter to the Times about Scott’s “Whose Brooklyn Is It Anyway” essay. “No matter where I choose to live that has nothing to do with it. I will always carry Brooklyn in my Blood, Heart and Soul.”
Lee’s feedback on Scott’s essay is the latest in the aftermath surrounding the director’s view against the changing face of Brooklyn and factors that resulted in longtime resident relocating. From Lee’s response last month, many criticized and alluded to him not living in Brooklyn as well as profiting from real estate deals in the borough.
In his essay, Scott touched on the hypocrisy claims when he mentioned Lee living in a “glass brownstone.” As a result, Lee brought one of Brooklyn’s most famous former residents into his argument, Jay Z. Although he no longer lives there, the rapper is well-known for his strong ties to the BK.
“Did anyone call Jay-Z a Hypocrite when he helped with bringing The Nets from New Jersey to The Barclays Center in Brooklyn at the Corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue?” Lee asked. “Hey Buddy, Jay-Z had been long, long gone from The Marcy Projects and Brooklyn a long, long, long time ago and more Power to my BK ALL DAY Brother. Should Jay-Z no longer mention Brooklyn in his Songs because he no longer resides there? You already know the answer to that one, Sir.”
In addition to Jay Z, Lee referenced celebrities such as Barbara Streisand, Sandy Koufax, Darren Aronofsky and Woody Allen as people who still represent Brooklyn while also giving a thorough breakdown of Brooklyn influence of the locations of each of his films .
“Let’s just say Mr. Scott, we follow your ill thought out, half developed argument that I’m a Hypocrite. Since you are a New York Times Film Critic this should be very easy for you,” the film director wrote. “According to your logic I should not have Written and Directed JUNGLE FEVER because I have never lived in HARLEM and BENSONHURST. I should not have Directed CLOCKERS because I have never lived in Boerum Hill and the Gowanus Projects. I should have not Written and Directed HE GOT GAME because I have never lived in CONEY ISLAND. I should have never Directed my two Epic Documentaries on Hurricane Katrina – WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE and IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE because I have never lived in NEW ORLEANS. Or maybe, perhaps I should have never WRITTEN and DIRECTED DO THE RIGHT THING because I have never, ever, ever lived in BED-STUY (DO OR DIE). Do you see where this is going?”
For the rest of Lee’s response to Scott, click here.