Gentrification is real and communities of color aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed the drastic change in their neighborhoods.
In a hilarious and spot-on skit, Jimmy Kimmel, who spent a week filming Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, reimagined Spike Lee’s iconic 1989 film Do The Right Thing to reflect just how much hipsters have transformed historic Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The four-minute long “sequel” to Lee’s film — dubbed Do The White Thing by Kimmel’s genius team — included a pizza shop, pictures of White people on the pizzeria’s walls, and even Rosie Perez…but that’s about as far as the similarities go.
With a star-studded cast (including many from HBO’s hit show GIRLS) Kimmel introduced new characters like Vinyl Raheem (yes, a play on Radio Raheem), Billy Crudup as a pizza delivery “Mookie” hell-bent on recycling and sustainability, and a handful of other characters concerned that the photos on the pizzeria’s walls weren’t wearing “thrift store finds.” In the original, Mookie (played by Lee himself), complained to shop owner Sal that there were no Black people represented in the neighborhood staple.
Expect to see Kimmel, a Brooklyn native, play Sal with the same demeanor and attitude as Danny Aiello, and Perez reintroducing a new generation to the steamy ice cube scene that had teenagers all around the nation saying, “Thank God for knee caps.”
Only this time, the ice cubes are “crafted from water hand-pumped from a sustainably harvested spring, frozen using bicycle power.”
While the brutally honest skit elicited many laughs, those who have watched Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood transform from a hub for Black folk to a haven for White transplants who have sparked an emergence of organic “bodegas,” cupcake shops, and Whole Foods markets understand just how damaging those changes can be. In recent months, landlords in many major cities have been called-out for increasing rent, pushing out lower-income tenants, and discriminating against renters of color — all tactics that enable them to bring in a new demographic of renters or buyers who have literally erased what once was.
And while we can certainly laugh at the man buns, hipster beards, and well-off White folks ironically concerned about thrift stores, it’s almost impossible to forget just how insidious gentrification actually is.
You can watch the clip above.
SOURCE: YouTube/Jimmy Kimmel
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