It’s now been 2 months that I have moved to the USA, to New York City, and to my new neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant, commonly known as Bed-Stuy.
I still have plenty to explore in this area, but the more I see the more I fall in love with it. See I grew up in France, far from all of this, but listening avidly to Brooklyn rappers and watching Spike Lee movies. To me, Bed Stuy meant the block parties, the fire hydrants opened, the friendly faces sitting outside their brownstone’s stoop smiling at you, Notorious B.I.G. pumping out the car and home windows: so basically, my dream.
Now that I have moved here, I can see most of those things happening everyday. The smiling faces are everywhere I go, the brownstones never cease to fascinate me, and I’m always hearing good music coming out from neighboring windows. However, it seems that since Spike Lee movies, gentrification has made its way into the neighborhood and Bed-Stuy is not as “authentic” as it was before. Let me explain, basically the neighborhood is flooding more and more with mainly white “wealthy” new inhabitants. Over the past years Bed-Stuy has been considered more “desirable” and sought after. What is important to know is that Bed-Stuy traces its African-American roots to the early 19th century and has been Brooklyn’s black cultural capital for decades. I believe that if you decide to move to Bed-Stuy, respect it and love it, do not move there to transform it into another hipster heaven, Bed-Stuy does not need white people to validate itself as “desirable”, even less to “rescue it”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am myself part of the gentrification, a little white French girl definitely does not coincide with Bed-Stuy’s original roots, but oh how much I love this place and want to tell the whole world, especially the next time someone tells me “Oh… You live in Bed-Stuy? Isn’t it like… dangerous or something?” Ah, just go live in Williamsburg or Manhattan and leave me alone.