Just some thoughts I had from conversation about Spike Lee handling spaces that are not his home New York City. From Chi-Raq to Levees, there is always critique of Lee when handling places that do not resemble his Brooklyn upbringing.
This article is old, but discusses am upcoming documentary on racial politics (assumingly) in Brazil that Lee is directin at the moment. It is set to release this year. I was wondering about people’s thoughts on how Spike Lee treats other places and, if yes, how does that treatmwnt further a particular directorial agenda?
As people who watch films, listen to music, and read books, we are constant consumers of art. As students and critical thinkers, we not only consume, but analyze this art. Something that I’ve noticed is that when critiquing a film, I often wonder about intent.
It is interesting to note that Get on The Bus is Lee’s first film in which he does not play a starring role. Despite this fact his presence was still felt through the character Xavier. I know that when I viewed the film I clearly saw similarities between himself and Xavier (AKA “X”), a UCLA film student who is making a documentary film on the Million Man March. Continue reading “Spike Lee in Get On The Bus”
What was the true role of the FBI in Malcolm X’s assassination? And how did Lee portray his murder in the biographical film of Malcolm X?
When Lee’s film Malcolm X was first released there was some controversial reviews on his portrayal of Malcolm X’s assassination. People were upset that they believed Lee to portray the NOI as solely responsible for the assassination, believing that the few radical muslims that murdered X were not representative of the NOI. As well, this portrayal sends a message of black-on-black violence that is destructive imagery. Lee responds to these criticisms in the following article, addressing his understanding of the assassination and the role of the parties involved.
I thought Malcolm X was fantastic. While researching the joint’s critical reception, I was pleased to discover that many critics had similar reactions. Even those with serious qualms with the film generally seemed pretty damned pleased that a major Hollywood studio was producing and financing a movie commemorating the life of Malcolm X. One reviewer wrote, “That this man is the subject of the first big budget Hollywood movie on the life of a black historical figure is, in and of itself, nothing short of a coup” (Yousman 2014).
In Malcolm X, Lee displays Mr. X’s difficulty in acclimating to the prison. Lee imbues the Mr. X’s incarceration with realism as it appears to relate to Erving Goffman’s mortification process, as described in Asylums. Continue reading “The Mortification of Malcolm Little”
In Lee’s Get on the Bus, there is a scene where we learn that both Wendell and Kyle support the Republican Party. Wendell goes on a tirade about “niggas like Jackson” to make the point that Black leaders seem to be always asking for some form of patronage, leading him to say, “They all say the same thing, ‘Hire us. Feed us. Affirmative Action’. Like we need America to keep a nipple in our mouth” (1:05:58). Kyle reiterates this point in his defense. He says, “Democrats wanna keep us powerless, docile, begging for handouts. Running around having babies without even a minute plan for their future” (1:06:17). So why did Wendell get thrown off the bus, but Kyle didn’t? Continue reading “Why Did Kyle Get to Stay on the Bus?”
Throughout this semester, I think that the most common misgiving that people have vocalized in regards to Spike Lee is his perception on black women. At best, he engages in bad feminism, and at worst, he hates black women. He does not afford black women the same complexities that he gives men, and he’s more inclined to redefine black masculinity over discussing problems relating to black women. The movies that elicited this response the most were Mo’ Better Blues, School Daze, and his most recent film Chi-Raq, and there were also problems with female representation in Malcolm X and Get On The Bus. Continue reading “Future Projects Laced with Past Mistakes”
When I saw the character of Rasheeda in Chi-raq (one of Lysistrata’s companions), I knew she was familiar. It was only after I looked Chi-raq’s cast up that I realized where I had seen the face. Anya Engel-Adams and Spike Lee had collaborated before, on NBA 2k16’s My Career storyline, Livin’ Da Dream. The video game has a mode where players can play out the lives of an up and coming NBA star. For the 2016 version of the game, 2k brought Spike Lee onto the team to enhance the storyline of the game mode.