Meet Saphia, a young bell hooks fanatic trying desperately to build a good life in New York City, a place famous for making life unlivable for anyone but the uber wealthy. Constantly immersed in the latest idea she has discovered while reading hooks, Saphia is determined to figure out how to apply these liberatory ideals to her own life. But the one thing she doesn’t account for is a little surprise encouragement from the legend herself. 

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SAPHIA: Hi. My name’s Saphia. And this—(cue montage)—is my life. I live in a Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn. I used to live in Bed-Stuy, but my roommates and I quickly realized our apartment was a sham. When we moved here, I was so happy to finally live in an apartment with decent heating, a nearby subway stop, and no pests. But then . . . I read bell hooks.

(Saphia holds up Where We Stand: Class Matters.)

SAPHIA: Now, I’m still making my way through it, but there’s line in particular that’s stuck with me. (reads) “More than any other issue facing our nation, housing will be the concern that will force citizens to face the reality of class.”

(Saphia closes the book.)

SAPHIA: Now you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal,” right? “That seems pretty obvious.” Affordable housing is obviously one of the biggest issues facing this country. But the thing is, the moment I read that line . . . I realized something terrible.

(cut to Saphia and Makayla, lying upside down on Makayla’s bed)

SAPHIA: I think I’m a gentrifier.


SAPHIA: I moved here after college, I overpay in rent, I can’t communicate with half the people in my neighborhood . . . I think that means I’m a gentrifier.

MAKAYLA: Damn. I guess you could say the same about me. Do you think it makes it better or worse that we’re Black gentrifiers?

SAPHIA: I don’t know. That’s like asking if Black Republicans are better than White ones. Or if we should let Jay Z and Beyoncé keep their billions.

MAKAYLA: So we’re fucked.

SAPHIA: Guess so. There is no outside. We’re all implicated.

MAKAYLA: Alright, I think you’ve had enough.

(Makayla sits up. An ash tray lays beside her and a joint hangs between Saphia’s fingers. Makayla sits up and snatches the joint from Saphia, snuffing it in the tray.)