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Gentrifaction angers Lee

Film director Spike Lee has engaged in a brief and lively profanity-laced debate about gentrification of largely black New York City neighborhoods.

Lee grew up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He made his comments during a Black History Month speech at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

He says gentrification had little regard for people who “have a culture that’s been laid down for generations.”

While gentrification brought improvements to neighborhoods such as Fort Greene, he demanded to know, “Why did it take this great influx of white people” to make things better?

Some audience members said they understand why some of their neighbors couldn’t pass up high offers for their homes.

Lee lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and recently listed his townhouse for $32 million.

Deen abhors a label

Paula Deen says she relates to football player Michael Sam and his desire to avoid being labeled.

In an interview with People magazine, Deen quoted Sam as saying he wants to be known as a football player and not a gay football player.

The Missouri All-American Sam recently came out as gay.

Deen told the magazine she understands his viewpoint and, in her case, worries the words “embattled” or “disgraced” always will be attached to her name.

The celebrity cook’s fortunes fell last year after she admitted during proceedings in a lawsuit that she had used racial slurs in the past.

The 67-year-old Deen called it “amazing” that others face controversies such as hers and come out seemingly unaffected.

Schweitzer joins MSNBC

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Thursday that he’s joined cable news channel MSNBC as a contributor.

The Democrat’s first appearance in his new role came Wednesday during an appearance on “The Ed Show” in which he discussed a segment on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Schweitzer is an outspoken proponent of the project to ship oil from Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries, putting him at odd with many Democrats.

Rumored as a presidential hopeful, Schweitzer has visited the key Democratic caucus state of Iowa but has made no formal announcement about whether he might run in 2016.

Allman film shelved

Filmmakers have shelved production on a movie about the life of Gregg Allman a week after a freight train killed one crew member and injured seven others, a Savannah city official said Thursday.

Filming of the movie “Midnight Rider,” starring William Hurt as the Allman Brothers Band singer in his later years, was just getting started when the train crashed into the crew and its equipment Feb. 20 on a trestle crossing the Altamaha River in rural Wayne County.

Sheriff’s investigators said the film crew had permission to be on private property adjacent to the train tracks, but not on the tracks themselves.