As Lady Macbeth might say, “Unsex me here”:
Posted: September 30th, 2007 | Filed under: Brooklyn, Follow The Money, Sliding Into The Abyss Of Elitism & Pretentiousness, That's An Outrage!, There Goes The Neighborhood
A production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” will replace a hip-hop festival next summer in a DUMBO venue controlled by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy — and organizers of the rap show believe that race played a role.
The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival — which brought thousands of people and big-name rappers to the park-and-condo waterfront development site in 2006 and 2007 — had already scheduled its 2008 production for the weekend of June 22.
But organizers were shocked last month to discover that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy had given those days to St. Ann’s Warehouse to stage a Polish rendition of that Scottish play.
Festival organizers believe the move was racially motivated.
“Hip hop brings a lot more brown people to this neighborhood, and people who live here are not comfortable with it,” said Wes Jackson, whose Room Service Production founded the festival in 2005.
“[People have told me that residents say], ‘The festival should be in Commodore Barry Park between the projects and the BQE, not next to my $2.5-million condo.'”
Whether racially motivated or not, the rejection of the hip-hop festival sounds very much like the scenario long imagined by critics of Brooklyn Bridge Park, where condo and commercial development will finance greenspace along a 1.3-mile stretch from DUMBO to the foot of Atlantic Avenue. Opponents believe that public events will not be public at all, but subject to the whims of the wealthy condo-dwellers whose maintenance fees will pay for the park’s upkeep.