What do we do when we see someone stumble? As for me, when it happens, I first hope that they’re okay (or at least I believe this about myself :B). Then, provided they are unharmed, I hope to laugh together with the person at what we both know was visually amusing. I apply this to my skateboarding falls/fails. Falling is an occupational hazard when one does something that requires balance. Standing and walking are the same. Conversation and dialogue are analogous. Continue reading “Trippin’”
The ending sequence of the movie School Daze is often difficult to understand, especially after sitting through the scene of when Jane is supplied to Half-Pint in a painful sexually assault. Dap, after confronting his cousin on his actions, gets dressed and proceeds to run outside to wake up the entire college. He yells Wake Up over and over again as he rings the campus bell. Students and administration gather on the main quad. As they leave the buildings, the only name we can identify is Sojourner Truth, an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Her legacy reminds us to remember the importance and power of women, something often ignored and approached poorly by the ever so clumsy view of gender by Spike Lee.
It is made clear from the beginning of the movie that the men in School Daze are what the narrative centers around. Their inner struggles with identity that translate into their outward struggles of inclusion and exclusion from certain on campus groups are the heart of the film and the women in the movie are either subplot additions to their lives or carry weak storylines in comparison.
For example, the argument could could be made that the main characters are Dap, Big Brother Almighty, and Half Pint. Their personal struggles and issues with Mission affect all the characters in the film– and shape the plot line for everyone else. The female main characters (“main” meaning they have the most speaking lines and are closest to the male main characters) Jane and Rachel, receive their entire storylines in relation to the men in their life. For example, Rachel is dating Dap and they have been dating since their freshman year at college. She has always wanted to join a sorority but has always been afraid to do so because she knows Dap will disapprove. Thus, her inner struggle for most of the film stems from Dap’s own insecurity with fraternities and sororities. Her friends in the movie aren’t as obviously connected to male group on campus, but they are also never really shown. They are only around to comfort or confront Rachel about her relationship with Dap. Jane also falls under a male shadow. The only scene in the movie where she and her sorority are not made in immediate relation to Big Brother Almighty and his fraternity is the hair salon scene. Jane and her sorority sisters are made to look like the Gamma Rays little helpers, whether it is with the step show or during their pledging process. Their sorority exists because it validates the Gamma Ray fraternity. It is a shame that the women and their own struggles that are not in relation to boys are never explored fully. The full black woman experience at an HBCU is one worth analyzing and putting up on screen and I wish that Spike Lee had worked hard to do that.
Arohde16 (sorry I do not know who is who with the usernames) brought up an interesting discussion about homophobia in School Daze. After receiving criticism for being careless with homophobic scenes in his movie, Lee responds he was simply “holding up the mirror” to the issue. Although Lee is known for leaving questions unanswered or nicely resolved, the issue is probably more complicated than simply “holding up the mirror”. Continue reading “Continuing the discussion on homophobia in School Daze…”
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.
From a 2013 interview with Spike Lee:
“First of all, I’m not homophobic. Because I have a character say the word “faggot” or “homo” that does not mean that I’m homophobic. Martin Scorsese is not racist. The characters are people he grew up with, characters in the mean streets — that’s those people talking, not him. In that world, those are the things people say. When I went to Morehouse College that’s the way they spoke, thought and talked about homosexuals… To be an artist, if you’re a novelist — every character you write is going to have the same vision? How do you have conflict if everybody is agreeing? Plus, what I’ve done is hold the mirror up. I’ve done a lot of showing what is happening now. I try to expose stuff by showing it — that doesn’t mean I’m endorsing it.”
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””