DENVER — A Denver real estate team has apologized following the release of a video that was criticized as being tone-deaf, especially regarding gentrification and cultural appropriation.
The video was published by Team Denver Homes, which was associated with Kentwood Real Estate. It showed a group of white people dancing and singing a parody of the opening theme of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” television show.
The group is shown in 1990s-style outfits in several central Denver neighborhoods, including Lower Downtown, Lower Highlands and River North.
Some criticized the video for appropriating black culture by showing exclusively white people dancing and singing in a hip-hop video that is a parody of a show about a black family.
The video also received backlash for being done-deaf regarding Denver’s ongoing issues with gentrification. The neighborhoods in which the video was filmed have been especially impacted by wealthy renters and buyers moving in and replacing poorer residents.
“This is a story all about how we turned the real estate market upside down,” one woman says while outside Little Man Ice Cream in LoHi. Little Man said via Facebook that it “never gave permission for the filming.”
The people in the video go on to brag about the team’s prowess in the local real estate market.
“This market can be crazy, but don’t be scared. We say you’re working with the best team in Den-Vair,” another woman says outside the Colorado Convention Center.
Following the release of the video, Kentwood Real Estate disassociated itself with the Team Denver Homes group.
“As I have shared, Kentwood management was not involved with Team Denver Homes video and had no knowledge of it at the time the video was made and posted. The video was never a Kentwood marketing effort,” said Andrea Kalmanovitz, who works for a public relations firm representing Kentwood.
Kalmanovitz also sent the following statement from Gretchen Rosenberg, president and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate:
“I cannot disclose private matters in regards to affiliation with independent contractors beyond confirming that the brokerage has disassociated from the Broker Associates affiliated with Team Denver Homes.
As a brokerage, we have a 38-year record of being an inclusive, equitable, professional, and empathetic culture and I remain steadfast in my commitment to maintain that culture on behalf of our Broker Associates, clients and community.”
Additionally, Team Denver Homes posted an apology on its Facebook page Thursday:
“Our video was intended to be whimsical and fun incorporating an iconic childhood show- we truly meant no harm to anyone and we sincerely apologize for those who were offended by it. We respect that some individuals interpreted the video in a way that was not intended and we are genuinely sorry for that. We have removed the video from all platforms and we will be more mindful of the marketing we create in the future.
– Mor Zucker, Michele Ciardullo & Team Denver Homes”
In the comments section of the apology, Team Denver Homes said it did not feature any people of color in its video because it “never had anyone apply” to its firm.
In 2017, Ink! Coffee was criticized after its RiNo location put out a sign that said in part, “Happily gentrifying the neighborhood since 2014.”