Watch PJ Harvey Sing About Gentrification on National TV

Watch PJ Harvey Sing About Gentrification on National TV

The singer-songwriter got political on The Late Show.

The singer-songwriter got political on The Late Show.

Text: Jacob Seferian

British singer-songwriter PJ Harvey performed "The Community Of Hope" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the latest single from her last album skewering public housing policy in Washington D.C..

Harvey has built a career on alt rock tunes, and she continues in that vein, this time lending her soft melodic sensibility to heavier themes. The Hope Six Demolition Project is a concept album that explores the effects of HOPE VI, a federal housing program that aims to convert (often by demolishing) low income housing into mixed income housing, in hopes to revitalize struggling communities. However, critics of the program say the proposed "revitalization" expedites gentrification, resulting in an influx of new middle-class residents pushing out long time low-income residents.

Inspired by a visit to Washington D.C.,"Community Of Hope" comments on the gentrification in Ward 7, and Harvey is highly critical of what she perceives to be federal neglect of the area. "Here's the highway to death and destruction/ South capitol is its name," she sang on The Late Show, wearing a navy top and an impressive headpiece. The song has been denounced by several local D.C. politicians, who condemn her summary of the district as a "drug-town." Others have praised her lyrical willingness to tread into controversial territory. The record was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Whether or not it's England-born PJ Harvey's place to comment on a community she's merely visited, opting to utilize her TV spot to shed light on a problematic federal policy affecting a too often unseen portion of Americans is definitely a bold statement. Watch the performance below.

Credits: Photo; MediaPunch.

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