Gentrification in Harlem is a sensitive subject to some who grew up in the historic neighborhood.
The people that have seen Harlem transition from a progressive black and brown community to victims of the crack epidemic to becoming a new haven for rising businesses and tech startups are amazed to see what’s happened to their old hood.
That includes rapper and Harlem native Jim Jones and his fiancé Chrissy Lampkin.
“I think gentrification can be a good thing for Harlem,” said the Dipset rapper. “But you gotta employ people from the neighborhood. If not, who’s benefiting from it?”
“Growing up in the 80s we didn’t know any better,” Lampkin said. “The mentality in general back then was just to survive. Not to build or to become owners.”
Jim Jones has always been very candid about his business ventures, rap beefs and time as a ‘hustler.’
“Not to make it a racial thing, but to think if we would have known how to profit off what we were doing in the streets,” Jones reflects. “The brownstones that are now owned by the white people in Harlem would still be ours.”
Check out what else Jim Jones and Chrissy Lampkin had to say about black businesses and financial struggles and more in our Grio sit-down.