Lifelong Harlem residents pen play about gentrification of their neighborhood
Young women write ply about changing neighborhood
BY Michael J. Feeney
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, December 2 2011, 6:00 AM
Four Harlem natives wrote a play that focuses on the gentrification of Harlem. Pictured are actresses (and playwrights) from left to right, Hollis Heath, Jaylene Clark and Janelle Heatley.
They saw abandoned brownstones renovated, cracks on sidewalks fixed and new families move onto their Harlem blocks.
They witnessed swanky, new restaurants open up - and they watched helplessly as the cost of housing shot through the roof.
Four Harlem natives watched the gentrification of their neighborhoods unfold, and now they’ve written a play about it.
The playwrights - all in their early 20s - have mixed feelings about the new businesses, towering new luxury apartment buildings and new faces in Harlem, and just want to see the rich culture of their neighborhoods preserved.
“Some of the Harlem culture is being lost through gentrification,” said Jaylene Clark, 23, one of the actors and playwrights of “Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale.”
The play, which focuses on three young women dealing with the affects of their changing neighborhood, is in its final week-long run at the historic National Black Theatre and runs Friday through Dec. 11.