Urban Development and Gentrification Are The Reasons “The Get Down” Exists
By Melyssa W
The Get Down makes me want to trade in my Apple products for a pair of platforms, bell bottoms, an afro, summer haze nights on rooftop overlooking the city. The Get Down has me ready to get dolled up and drop it low at the disco, in search of a boo like Ezekiel. I’m obsessed with The Get Down, It’s like a breath of fresh air. The Get Down depicts an old NYC that was vibrant, raw, dangerous, violent, creative, and prime action with the development new social world.
The Get Down examines the life of a minority youth named Ezekiel and his friends in the late 70’s. Many witnessed the birth of new diverse cultures, particularly Hip-pop. The characters are multifaceted, complicated and relatable, it’s exciting to watch characters that signify the youth of a new generation that would redefine an entire culture and make history. The Get Down is a glimmer of light in Ezekiel’s dark world through his love of Mylene, poetry, and his ultimate desire to escape the burning Bronx.
The 70’s was a very tumultuous but transformative period in NYC.The Get Down reflects the tough times of a bankrupt NYC, dangers of living in an inner- city neighborhood, unemployment, urban decay, the resurface of capitalistic corruption. Although we’ve made progress, nevertheless these are still issues that are a major many minorities based neighborhoods still deal with as well.
Historically, minority based neighborhoods had been destroyed by encroachment of structured development. During the 70s and 80s , structural development was a major attack on urban areas across the boroughs prominently in Melinated (black and brown) communities. We also see the prominent effects of urban development through that favorable term that is starting to define the way we look at our neighborhoods today: “Gentrification”.
The catchphrase of the century, Gentrification isn’t a new wonder especially in metropolitan areas such as NYC. Gentrification can also be substituted as Urban Development. Urban Development was a structured plan by the government to create social and economic stability in metropolitan urban neighborhoods that were imposed to generate a community amongst middle/lower class families. Urban
development submerged zealous ideas of improving the lives of lower class residents that live in neighborhoods. Although Urban Development seemed optimistic for many families during the 1960’s, many of the middle class citizens (who were prominently white) decided to vacate the areas. Due to long term delayed construction that cause bad pollution, communities that became economically stricken which led to incomplete construction projects, poor living conditions for people that were already residents due to buildings being incomplete, and the increasing rate of crime and drugs. Lower class residents believed and hoped that their lives would improve with these new plans but were instead left with disappointment, extreme poverty, and destitute living conditions.
Urban Development was the destruction of communities in NYC and was perpetually the start of modern decolonization in minority based neighborhoods. Let’s come back to our time, forward it to present day 2016, it’s quite similar in MANY ways. Because of urban development many communities learned the true meaning behind struggle, unity, and survival which help keep them flourished. However, with the sudden expansion of gentrification, these neighborhoods are slowly losing the beauty and essence of the structural integrity that are in these areas. Just like Urban Development, Gentrification is causing another collapse through the ways of forcing an economic upheaval with these residents in their own areas. It’s ironic how urban development forced these residents to be in these complex financial strife back in the 70’s and 80’s and with gentrification they are forcing out these people out those neighborhoods that they originally created for them. It’s important that we acknowledge these issues in our communities, so we can work together to improve and create a better living conditions for the future. Watching The Get Down is not entertaining but its historical and current at the same time.