Salaam Remi Brings Attention to Gentrification and ‘Karen’ Culture in the New Brooklyn

According to the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, between 2000 and 2010 Brooklyn has been in one of the most drastic circumstances of gentrification in the five boroughs.

The complexion of the following neighborhoods, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and Gowanus, and Crown Heights North, have all changed drastically shifting the culture, drastically shifting demographics: an increase of between 6,700 and 15,600 white residents, paired with a simultaneous decrease in Black residents (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights North), Latino residents (Williamsburg), or both (Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and Gowanus).

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Numbers don’t lie and may only give a small glimpse of gentrification. Artists like Remi Salaam and Bilal have used their gifts to provide a visual to this phenomenon that has displaced thousands of Black and Latinos.

In their new video, “Coming Outta The Rain,” Bilal after spending a day in Prospect Park comes face to face with a new Brooklyn Karen, who calls the cops on him for simply Blacking in public. In a simulated drama, she is seen calling the police in the same manner that the white Amy Cooper called authorities on Harvard grad and Black man, Christian Cooper.

Bilal, who is working out in the video, presents himself just as harmless as Cooper. This excerpt might also be compared to the summer incident involving Hamptons restaurateur, Svitlana Flom, who came under fire calling the police on a Black woman for “threatening” her children, though videos surfaced of the incident showing that she was not … again another person of color caught ‘Blacking in public.’

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From 6:15pm – 7:31pm this woman, Svitlana Flom, artdefete felt the need to not only approach me but call the cops MULTIPLE TIMES ON ME!! She was too “Alarmed” that I was sitting “comfortably” in “her neighborhood!” The first call was because she THOUGHT I was smoking in public.. but by the 3rd call, it was bcuz I was “threatening her & her children !!” While giving my description, she exaggerated her story & made it seem like I was the aggressor. “THIS AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN IS ATTACKING ME AND MY CHILDREN!” She had tears that were off & on & she stated things like “She’s pulling the black card!” Then wanted me to walk to the boys w/ her 🤦🏾‍♀️🤡 I probably could have just walked away!! I probably should have kept my mouth shut right ?! NAHHH!! I couldn’t understand why she was so mad ! Like ummmm first of alllll I pay alllll mine over here Miss Lady !! 🙄 How you come over here just feeling sooooo privileged & soooo comfortable enough to tell me I should leave ?! You’re buggin !! NOT THIS ONE!! She wanted to be a victim soooo bad!! NOT ONE PERSON CAME TO HER AID!! MULTIPLE PPL witnessed the ordeal & just wanted to make sure I was ok! SHARE THESE VIDEOS AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE !! #SvitlanaFlom maisonvivinyc @huffpost @ariannahuff

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Salaam Remi’s music underlies Bilal’s jazzy lyrics — and paints a lazy experience that seems to be coming together brightly after a storm. As the music video chronicles him strolling through the park, enjoying the day, working out, and clearing his mind, something seems off, topsy turvy. But it immediately comes clear when a woman demands that he leaves her Brooklyn … “It is our neighborhood now!”

Biggie’s Brooklyn, if you stroll down any street and according to the research, is now Becky’s. And musicians, artists, and advocates are clear, this is a problem.

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