In “Bamboozled,” Spike Lee uses multiple angles to display the swiftness with which Pierre’s collection of Black Americana collectibles proliferates. As a result, Lee’s audience comprehends the power of the past and understands that racial equality does not yet exist. In this post I will focus on one scene in particular: the scene in which Pierre speaks to his mother on the phone (1:42:30).
About half of our blog watched the movie on Friday night in Professor Parham’s office (I realized a few hours after the movie that everyone there is in this blog group). It was a pretty intimate setting, which turned out to be a very nice thing once we got to the end of the film. It’ll be interesting to compare the experiences of the Friday night viewers and the Sunday night viewers.
The women in Do The Right Thing are so stereotyped that their supposed allegories dominate their identity to the point where character development is loss. Characters such as Mother Sister, Jade, and Tina (Mookie’s baby mama) all signify both stereotypes of women of color and work as prophetic storytellers for the men in their lives. Their dialogues and roles revolve around typical preconceived notions of women, meaning these women are usually forgiving, caring, and committed to the men and children in their life. Following these stereotypes up, these women also fulfill preconceived notions of women of color: they are bold in speech, strong, and stubborn. They especially exemplify these qualities when they are around the men in their lives. Mother Sister is always strong and stubborn with Da Mayor, Tina is always stubborn and bold with Mookie, and Jade is also always bold and stubborn with Mookie. The women offer interesting and different perspectives to their male counterparts but they are always seeped in “women of color stereotypes” that sometimes make their commentary less effective in message. For example, Tina will be screaming at Mookie so much that the viewer will pay less attention to what she is saying and more to her outward emotional appearance.
This could perhaps be the point though, that what they say is not so important as how they say it. I think Spike Lee likes the “aesthetics” of black women and finds a special comfort in their strength, how they don’t take nonsense from anyone. So much so that he wrote Mother Sister, Jade, and Tina’s roles for the purpose of providing specific kind of emotional support for the men in their lives.
I think do the right thing is a great film however after watching and analyzing this film a question that arose in my head was what do the women in this film represent. In the film do the right thing, I think all of the women represented in the film are allegorical, stereotypical and troupes of sorts. My question is why? What is spike trying to say about black women in the film and outside of the film. The first women character I analyzed in this film and primarily helped me come to the conclusion that spike lee is lacking in his writing of women character is Mother Sister from the movie do the right thing, she stereotypically represents and perpetuates the narrative of black women’s domesticity, care taking, subservience and suffering. One thing I over looked that is a telling detail in support of my critique of women’s representation in Lee films is her name! Mother Sister, the name fulfills exactly what it is supposed to,it is a title that tells of the role that she plays within her community as a black woman. In an ending scene mother sister can be seen taking care of Mayor a neighborhood man who is laying in bed with a look of distress on his face after one of the neighborhoods most beloved youth is killed. Immediately preceding that scene in the film we are immersed in a scene where the mother of spike Lee’s child in the film is angry after an argument they just had about his absence from his sons life. During the argument she does most of the screaming/talking (rightfully so) but how does this portray her to the audience as an angry black woman and a single mother again another stereotypical role for a black woman in his film.
I want to focus on the closing scene of school days when dap calls for a campus wake up. He’s is calling for a wake up on an all black campus where there is turmoil between black students. I believe the turmoil stems from multiple groups of black students on the campus wanting to become the next great black youth to lead the generation. We see a split and racial divide between black people all throughout the movies with fraternities and sororities but also in the scene outside of the chicken spot when dap and his boys and they get into an argument with other men who are older and are not college educated. One of the men on the opposite side of the debate from dap, played by Samuel L. Jackson uses the work nigga to refer to his friends and dap says “you are not a nigga” the man retorts “yes I am and you are too”, as a means to express to Dap that just because he’s a black man and educated doesn’t mean that the world will regard him any differently, in some ways I agree with the man’s sentiments and would even say I see this ideology perpetuated in modern day, there is this belief that if you act a certain way, have achieved certain things, or dress in a way that is deemed professional, that you will be treated better or differently than those that don’t. This notion is false. I want to particularly focus on an incident of violence that took place on university of Virginia’s campus in the fall of 2015,Martese Johnson was beaten and detained by Virginia officers for having a fake I.D. that was actually his real I.D.. Martese is a straight A student at UVA and is always dressed in a suit and tie, however the officers didn’t spare him because of this, so this f idea of respectability politics providing safety or invisibility is false. I think the wake up at the end of the film is Dap finally realizing that and wanting to bring that message to everyone else on the campus. It is my believe that Daps wake up was to convey the message that the black students needed to stop tearing down each other in order to gain respect, power and safety in a world that won’t grant them that because of their blackness no matter how they dress, what education they have, or ways they might behave. he says this to say wake up we are on one team. And need to work on progressing our race together, so let’s stop tearing each other down in attempt to gain all of these things that don’t exist for us, because no how much money or power we have in comparison to each other we will still be regarded the same way because of our race and political identity.
Yesterday my little cousin Mudiwa cried and told her mother that she feels that she is not cute like other kids because of the color of her skin. Continue reading “Why my cousin doesn’t feel “cute””
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. Continue reading “Snaps to That”
Thomas helped me to better understand the continuity between Do The Right Thing and School Daze. The two films function as an exploration of leadership within the black community. Continue reading “My Man Freddy”