Harlem residents have responded with racism and threats of violence to people using the name “SoHa” to describe South Harlem.
The idea was being pushed by real estate developers to make the southern part of Harlem sound trendy and increase investment and interest in the community.
But some Harlem residents and politicians believed the name change was an attempt to “whitewash” the community’s rich African-American history.
“How dare someone try to rob our culture, and try to act as if we were not here, and create a new name, a new reality as if the clock started when other people showed up?” New York Senator-elect Brian Benjamin told a crowd at a press conference on Wednesday, according to the Huffington Post.
Benjamin said that he is working on creating a law that would prevent the renaming of a community by any group receiving government subsidies.
And while the name first appeared in a New York Times story in 1999, it is now being seen as racist.
“We’re not going to let people who just got here change the name of our community for their profit,” Cordell Cleare, a district leader in Harlem, said. “This is about greed and lust.
“No real estate company, no coffee shop, no business should be using the term ‘SoHa’ to refer to Harlem. This is a home, this is a culture, this is a place that people visit,” Danni Tyson, a real estate agent and Community 10 board member, said in a video shared on Instagram.
Right in front of SOHA Realty Harlem’s own Danni Tyson boldly declared, “this is Harlem, Not SOHA. This is our home, this is our culture. No real estate company, no coffee shop or any other business in Harlem should use the term SOHA to refer to Harlem!! @harlem_no_soha Please note that despite having been told she’d ruin her brand & career Danni has courageously continued to speak out and fight the rebranding of Harlem as SOHA!! For full length videos from today’s press conference check out our Facebook page, the ? is in our bio!!
But people on social media were a lot less diplomatic about their anger.
I cosign running the pockets of every gentrifying, trust fund baby with a man bun that you come across. fuck that #SoHa bullshit.
— J.D. Chambers (@deonvisuals) May 27, 2017
“Running pockets” is an urban term for robbing a person.
— Len Ottesen (@lenottesen) May 26, 2017
I will punch anyone who calls Harlem “SoHa” and all of you motherfuckers referring to Washington heights as “WaHi” GTFO.
— ??♀️ (@G_Na002) May 25, 2017
I will FIGHT you if you try to refer to Harlem as SOHA in my presence. https://t.co/rF3W7v5f4C
— D I M A S (@Milkman__Dead) May 25, 2017
There is an interest to change the area between 110th and 125th to SoHa and I need for my followers to gather my bail money. I wanna fight.
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) May 26, 2017
As a native New Yorker I vow to beat the living crap out of anyone who calls Harlem “SoHa”. https://t.co/ez8jOiaKHI
— Frau Benjamente (@Nada718) May 26, 2017
Others resorted to racism.
This is what happens when white people move into black communities & want to change everything. FUCK OFF. https://t.co/2MwsBLvZ5J
— wino$lut⛓ (@lilac_spawn) May 28, 2017
I wish a white person would ask me to show them properties in “SoHa”. After me gathering their entire gentrifying life they’d be blocked.
— Sweets. (@ChiquitaSWEETS) May 28, 2017
SoHA = South Harlem? white folks taking and changing everything pic.twitter.com/v8cqdeuKWZ
— Tay (@TheMaroonV) May 27, 2017
Not surprised at all by developers proposing to rename Harlem “SoHa” in hopes of rebranding. Just white people white peopling #HarlemnotSoHa
— Parrish (@parrish1908) May 26, 2017
— Ms. Aishia (@divatherapist) May 26, 2017
So they wanna name Harlem…SoHa? Who are these white people and are they the same people remaking Dirty Dancing?!
— Jenni Ruiza (@RuizaJenni) May 26, 2017
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