On Whole Foods, Gentrification and the Erasure of Black Harlem | The Root

BY Angela Helm

Bye-bye, black Harlem, glad I knew ye. Hello, Whole Foods, I do enjoy your products, but if you can gentrify greens, what chance do we really have?

I first moved to Harlem in 1998. I was a young single mother in graduate school with a 2-year-old. Harlem offered me respite, refuge and safety in blackness and an affordable apartment in a doorman building. For me, after working downtown or going to New York University and being picked apart by microaggressions, Harlem was a place where I could blend in and relax. Take off the mask and just be.

Where some people saw violence, I saw community. Where others saw pathology, I glimpsed my reflection in the shiny faces of little girls in cornrows and big teeth. I heard my tongue in snatches of passed conversation, and tasted my culture from the old men who sold collard greens and watermelons on the corner. And there was always music, sweet music, coming from its very pores.

Read more: On Whole Foods, Gentrification and the Erasure of Black Harlem | The Root

Related:

The End of Black Harlem | NY Times

A White Soundtrack in a Black Neighborhood | Eater

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One Response to “On Whole Foods, Gentrification and the Erasure of Black Harlem | The Root”

  1. Mark says:

    let’s see an article supporting black owned business in harlem, giving exposure to the owners and their marketplace, that can help combat negative social change like displacement via Whole Foods

    all this article does is plant a seed in people’s minds that something unavoidable is happening – it’s defeatist, and seemingly a redundant and wasteful piece of content.

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