''People Lost Their Homes, People Lost Their Businesses''
8:30PM ET February 11th, 2013
Contributor : Stephen Willis
A Rocky Williform Company
Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) has voiced his criticisms with the billion-dollar Barclays Arena that is home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. The rapper/actor believes that the facility has and could continue to adversely affect local businesspeople.
"I have been what some people might call an opponent to the stadium...I was concerned about what the stadium’s presence in the community might do," he said in an interview with Vulture. "I saw one thing that was kind of a telling sign. I was on DeKalb Avenue and Flatbush, probably two months ago, and at the intersection I saw these not-quite-so-young men, in standing traffic, trying to sell bootleg Rolling Stones T-shirts. [Laughs] I thought, 'This is the trickle-down economic effect of Barclays in the neighborhood?' I didn’t think of it as a positive...people lost their homes, people lost their businesses. Triangle Sports, it took up a whole block, been there a hundred years — they gotta go! That’s the market."
"I was actually pretty hesitant to have it published, because I didn’t want it to be misconstrued as some sort personal attack on Jay," he said. "In the world of Hip Hop and certain parts of the media, you take a statement and you turn it into Wrestlemania, you make the Himalayas out of molehills. I wasn’t interested in that. I respect Jay. I have great respect for him...I’m from the town too. I’m from the same neighborhood, the same projects. My grandmothers, my moms, my uncles — my first five years in life were at Marcy Projects. If I can’t have an opinion, who can? So to quote Jay: 'I’m bigging up my borough. I’m big enough to do it.'"
"I would love for Barclays and the NBA and whoever else to prove me wrong, by engaging in the community, not just on some [surface] level for the photo op," he added. "But to really be concerned with enriching the lives of people in that community."