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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