Harlem Residents And Activists Put An End To The “SoHa” Rebranding
Just a few months ago, we wrote about the efforts to rebrand and rename Harlem, the part from 110 to 125th. The neighborhood was first dubbed South Harlem, by who I don’t know. As a Harlem resident, I’ve never heard it called South Harlem. But that’s another story for another day. Once South Harlem became a thing, a real estate agency called Keller Williams, decided to rename the neighborhood to SoHa.
I’m sure someone will take this the wrong way but this “sounds about White.” Perhaps you’ve noticed that White folks have an affinity for shortening things, names, proper nouns etc. They’re fond of abbreviations. I’ve literally heard White folks say “abbrevs.”
Anyway, the good people of Harlem were not with the name change…at all. And thankfully they let their voices be heard. There was a backlash from community leaders and residents. And as you might expect, plenty of conversation on social media.
Afterward, the real estate agency got the message. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company decided to drop the rebranding efforts.
“The team has a passion for the people, the history and the culture of the neighborhood they also call home,” a Keller Williams spokesperson told Wall Street Journal. “With respect to the neighborhood and people of Harlem, they will change their team name at Keller Williams NYC.”
Public officials are also getting involved. New York State Senator Brian Benjamin announced on Friday that he was introducing legislation that would make it more challenging to change a New York neighborhood’s name.