I have been wondering about Tongues Untied in the context of School Daze. In fact, I’ve been wondering about framing School Daze by some of the themes and motifs brought up in Tongues Untied. Piggy-backing from the idea of Spike Lee not being able to handle sexuality as well as he could, especially sexuality within the black community, I must say that I completely agreed and Tongues Untied solidifies that for me.
Tongues Untied points out the homophobia in the context of the black community in film, School Daze being part of that critique. Tongues highlights this through Dap’s and his crew’s stroll during the fraternity showcase.
“I’m gonna fuck you.”
“Have you heard what they say about Mission men?”
The threat to masculinity in School Daze is a violent one. And not in the sense of fist fights or fraternity hazing. No, it comes from instead of homosocial relationships and the homophobia that strives out of those relationships. Men bond with men with women often as part of that facilitation, as Diana Sargent might say her research on the idea of “bromance.” We see this visually in Dap’s conversation with Julian, with Jane in between that conversation. Without the mitigation of the female variable, homosocial relations can become violent; Jane intervening before Dap and Julian’s conversation escalate.
It is also in this scene that Julian and Dap tell each other they will “fuck” each other as a threat.
Homophobia is a threat to the masculinity of Mission College. Blackness and homosexuality is contested, even with imagery that implies homosexuality (of course some of this imagery is a gross assumption of homosexuality in the film, but most if the implications of homosexuality in the film are gross) it is denounced. An example of this is after the Gamma Phi Gamma stroll, which the Big Brothers are behind each other often and the film shifts to a focus on how butts are framed in the scene. After their performance, Dap and his crew come and make fun of them by using homophobic slurs.
Tongues Untied highlights the struggle of blackness versus queerness and the lack of vision of the two being part of one identity. What are your thoughts? How do you view School Daze framed by Tongues Untied?