Noise Complaints to Police for Spike Lee's Jazz-Legend Dad

A new Fort Greene, N.Y., resident doesn't like Bill Lee's jam sessions, but Lee says he was there first. Who's right?

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Spike Lee and his father, Bill Lee (Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images)

It's no secret that Brooklyn, N.Y., is gentrifying, and as new residents move in, they don't always mesh with the community. Case in point: A Fort Greene resident has repeatedly called the police on Bill Lee, father to filmmaker Spike Lee and the man behind the scores of your favorite 40 Acres and a Mule productions. The new neighbor, the New York Times reports, says that Lee and his band consistently wake her up with their jam sessions, while the Lee family says that if she doesn't like it, she should move because they've been practicing at home since 1969. 

"This is a professional house with professional musicians living here," she said. "If it bothers you, maybe this is not the place for you."

The Lees' next-door neighbor on the other side, Dianne Mackenzie, said that though she and her tenants could hear the music at moderate volume, she was fine with it and warned prospective tenants not to rent if they objected to music.

She called the dispute emblematic of the changes in Fort Greene, a neighborhood long known for its diversity and creative residents, and one that has seen an influx of higher-income settlers.

"This is the problem with the people who just got here, compared to the people who've been here longer," she said.Ms. Lee echoed Ms. Mackenzie's sentiment. "You didn't just move into a house, you moved into a community," she said.

The complaining neighbor said she loved Fort Greene and had no intention of moving out. She has offered to help pay for soundproofing the Lees' house, but they turned her down.

Ms. Lee said she felt the offer was less a friendly overture than an attempt to muzzle the musicians. "You're not going to tell me what to do in my home," she said.

Read more at the New York Times

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