By: Jovanna Romero
Who gotta a problem with Harlem? Fresh off the press, The New York City section also known as “Harlem World” or “Black Mecca” was poked by numerous NYC real estate agents and new neighbors who want to rename the mighty section, “SoHa” short for “South Harlem.” According to NY1 News, residents of the prominent African American neighborhood aren’t pleased with the untasteful news. Harlem is home to many African American megastars, 5-star restaurants, and movie/entertainment industries. The section has a meaning besides its long stretch, surrounding upper Manhattan and the South Bronx.
Besides Harlem being the capital for minorities, the small section offers history, culture and develops streetsmart among residents. To rename Harlem will be erasing history. One Facebook user adds: “The term “SoHa” brings out racial and socio-economic separation.” Despite the residents fuming over the possible change, Danni Tyson, a board member of Community Board 10 spoke some words. “No real estate company, no coffee shop, no business should be using SoHa to refer to Harlem.” (Scotto 2017). Harlem is a comfort zone. It has many festivals, restaurants, shopping malls, and continues to have potential promise. Residents created this environment to be themselves, also freely express culture and free speech. Movements partaken in Harlem has increased community development and awareness of obtaining cleanup in the city. A fact from nyc.org states, over the years the residents spoke to community leaders about making changes to Harlem “their home,” not the name Harlem. The issues in Harlem: Poverty, Drugs, Remedial minded children, broken homes and chaos of crime and injustice. Changing the name “Harlem” is the less concern of NYC residents.
Why would someone rename Harlem to SoHa?
It doesn’t make sense. If the purpose is to rebuild the neighborhood, there are other ways to do so. Example: Building more parks for children, keeping narcotics off the streets and help to find people employment and housing. Those issues can resolve in rebuilding the neighborhood. There’s no ideal, Harlem needs more home improvement, but Rome wasn’t built overnight right? The people of New York City will be getting their hands dirty, but changing the name won’t make a difference. Taking cheese off of the chicken cutlet and still calling it “Chicken Parmigiana” doesn’t fit the bill. The name change from Harlem to SoHa is long in the making. A memo from Manhattan Community Board 10, provides resolutions of the rebranding of Harlem. The memo states: renaming Central Harlem below 125th street as SoHa will be misleading and unbalance its geographic designation and its free-air presence among the American culture. Question from reporter Scotto: What do you want the neighborhood to be called? Answer from a resident: Harlem.
The news of changing “Harlem” is ridiculous. Millions of people were born, came, reside and became famous because its spice to Black culture- Harlem is one of the cities in America having high power black businesses: Chocolat Lounge, Black Ink Crew tattoo shops, Sweet Mamas and others along the famous Lenox Ave strip. Many landmarks engraved on this urban rock called “HARLEM.” For the residents standing up to keep the name on the map, takes guts. Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is more to be desired than great wealth, and to be respected is better than silver and gold.”