Point: Jay-Z Sold Out Brooklyn


Despite presenting the Barclays Center as something to benefit Brooklyn, Jay-Z's posturing as the face of the project is a strictly selfish stance. The Center hasn't produced any sort of career options for kids in the area (let alone the Marcy Projects), unless you count being given the chance to take fast-food orders as creating opportunities for the better of the community. The scale of the stadium is too large to do anything to aid and foster the borough's music scene. Long-time local businesses are also faced with a prohibitive rent hike next time their leases come up. For the Barclays Center to become a valued part of the community (and a part of Brooklyn's appeal) it has to integrate into the community. How about offering high-school kids in the borough an expedited chance to become part of the Nets' marketing team? Instead, the stadium's scale and corporate glow casts it as a reminder that Jay-Z may like to endlessly brag about his ties to Brooklyn, but these days he's more interested in how pimpin' out the allure of the borough can increase his bottom line.

Rappers, of course, don't have any obligation or commitment to give back, no matter how rich they become. But Jay-Z's role in the Barclays Center isn't as just a rapper. He has become the public face of a stadium that large numbers of long-time residents in the borough didn't want; he's been content to smile for the cameras wearing Brooklyn-branded clothing while behind the scenes his wealthier cohorts rake in cash from his former community. So for now, Jay-Z can perform a few shows and bandy around slogans proclaiming Brooklyn's pride. But when the memory of the shows fades, what will be left? Jay-Z's unwitting gift to his borough of birth: A big ol' heap of rust dumped between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.



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16 comments
weoccupymusic
weoccupymusic

@macfathom that piece is amazing! thanks for pointing it out.

MCMinchala
MCMinchala

@villagevoice A little heavy on the drug tangent but the rest on how it fails to come through on any promises of community benefit is gold.

agentmule
agentmule

tru dat RT @villagevoice: "Jay's role in the Barclays Center debacle is a crass case of selling-out the borough's soul" http://t.co/pgmLeUjC

tNYC
tNYC

My grandmother has lived in Brooklyn for over 80 years. I've never heard her say even ONE criticism of anyone or any business moving into or living in Brooklyn. If you asked her, she would say she has always loved Brooklyn and always will.

 

This article is wack. The Barclay's Center would've happened with or without Jay-Z, the fact that someone actually from Brooklyn gets a prominent spot in it's opening is just a bonus and one of the few things that is actually good about the stadium. 

 

Finally, talking about how Jay-Z only raps about selling drugs is blatant ignorance simply because it's not true. You sound like a Republican. 

vanesseroo
vanesseroo

@villagevoice What exactly is the borough's soul? Hipster trash and the sketchy side of Prospect Park? Brooklyn needs to get over itself.

ReggiePace
ReggiePace

@villagevoice 2. If you believe that Jay-Z is a drug kingpin, you must believe that Ozzy is Iron Man, or that R. Kelly can actually fly!!!

ReggiePace
ReggiePace

@villagevoice : 1.The drug angle in this article is silly. He is an entertainer who can make songs about whatever he wants.

JohnnyDeep
JohnnyDeep

Interesting point/counter point here.

I kind of agree with the above since I'm sick of multi-millionaire Jay STILL rapping about the drugs he sold 20 years ago. But that's me......

killer_weed
killer_weed

@villagevoice just one question about this Jay Z piece: how the hell do you pronounce Mlynar?

weoccupymusic
weoccupymusic

@Phonz but it has nothing to do with the specifics of the Barclays Center, it's just a literary analysis.

JPMcMahon
JPMcMahon

If some major country artist sang one song that glorified selling meth, one time at a show, their career would be toast. 

ChallahBackGirl
ChallahBackGirl

@tNYC If your grandmother was told that she legally had to move out of her house so someone could build a new business there I think she might be a little miffed. And if a known drug dealer was fronting the new business I also think she might not be that enthusiastic about the whole series of events.

Phonz
Phonz

@weoccupymusic indeed, but I think the counterpoint nails the self-authored mythology around J and the symbolic appeal of his story

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