Mostly I have in mind all the crazy development that's taking place, the new medium-high rise condos and the reno jobs like the old Watchtower building where someone slapped down 6 million dead presidents for a place to lay her head and view the East River.
The cultural and artistic underpinning of this New Brooklyn was laid over the past two decades by a group of young intellectuals who are never called intellectuals but rather hip hop artists, and who rarely disagree with that designation because it often translates into a paycheck, often a big one. Ask Jay-Z.
Now comes one who surely qualifies as a serious thinker by any scholar's definition, who has strung together some beautiful videos offering reflections on the life of a West Indian-born black kid growing up in late Twentieth Century Brooklyn.
His name is Oronde Ash [photo], and taken together his pieces are a coming-of-age tale, told in YouTube fashion that updates the reflections and truths once related by Betty Smith, who penned the classic "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" set in Williamsburg in the first years of the 1900s.
The honesty in the videos is striking, the rhythms are catchy, and the insights are universal but told with a style that belongs to the artist himself.
In my Net research I've discovered that Ash is completing a book "17 to Life," which is really as memoir of the artist as a (still) young man. Ash is a former assistant men's soccer coach at North Carolina State University and is a motivational speaker, having set up a company he calls "bygINCpresents."
To read a correspondence from Ash to us, click here.
And now, just below, is the "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" video. Others can be found by going to his YouTube page.