Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Y'all Should Apologize to Spike Lee!

Shout out to Adrian Barrett

Good morning family.

Spike Lee said this...

and tweeted this...

“American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them."
and all hell broke loose. Everybody and their mama threw the brother under the bus. At the same time, those ingrates elevated and honored their white lord and savior, Quentin Tarantino.   For weeks, I have been defending Spike Lee online. I thought I was done talking about Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Django Unchained.

Then, something happened. Early this morning, I was on Facebook and I saw a powerful Huffington Post article written by Morris W. O'Kelly entitled We Owe Spike Lee a Huge Apology. In his piece, Mr. O'Kelley writes:

Spike Lee doesn't need my help to defend him, but he does deserve our gratitude and respect.

I remember watching Pulp Fiction for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, if not loved it. It is fair to characterize it as a classic piece of American cinema. But that doesn't in any way mitigate the impact or excuse the "Dead N***** Storage" joke(s) in the film. They were unnecessary and wholly arbitrary in nature. They weren't for expository effect or "authenticity."

They were to generate laughs. He got none from me.

Then came Jackie Brown. This time, it was more of the same but for a lesser quality movie. Samuel L. Jackson was once again (like Pulp Fiction) used as the loudspeaker for the supposed humor. In fact, it was used 38 times. Again, not for expository effect or "authenticity" sake, (although Tarantino has argued publicly that the movie was an homage to the Blackxploitation genre in which the word was often used.)

But again... used to generate laughs... and I didn't.

My familiarity with Tarantino's work was neither linear nor chronological in nature. It wasn't until after Jackie Brown that I went back and discovered Reservoir Dogs... and there it is found too. Say it again with me... not for expository effect or "authenticity" sake.

This time it wasn't necessarily for laughs per se, but was used by "Mr. Pink" to specifically degrade and deride as an insult.

This is largely the history of Quentin Tarantino leading up to Django Unchained, a movie whose script was widely circulated in the year prior to its release. Spike Lee read it, I've read and virtually everyone else involved in entertainment had read it long before the movie premiered.

Lee, made it clear that he did not plan to support the movie, finding the whole premise of spaghetti western slave drama to be "disrespectful" to his (and my) ancestors. In response, Lee was criticized and castigated for not having viewed the movie first and for being a "hater," as the reductionist, simple-minded argument would go.

Lee's critique is not, was not and will never be dependent on the "quality" of the movie. It never was about the movie, it's about the very premise. I don't need to actually view "Slavery -- The Broadway Musical" starring Jennifer Hudson to forward the idea that slavery as a musical is wholly disrespectful in its very conception. I don't need to sit through "Slavery - The Daytime Soap Opera" starring Shemar Moore or "Superman The Man of Steel Frees the Negroes" co-starring Flava Flav either to come to this reasonable conclusion....

Lee was called (among other things) a "thug" and "punk" by comedian Dick Gregory and a "conniving and scheming Uncle Tom" by former 2LiveCrew leader Luther Campbell. I respect the former and laugh at the latter. Dick Gregory has a long, undeniable civil rights history, but such a classless rebuke for a film he wasn't in and criticism not directed at him is curious at best. And you also mean to tell me, the man BEST known for debasement of countless women of color and a career of misogyny, Luther Campbell was calling the director of Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke, Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing and Miracle at St. Anna (producer) an "Uncle Tom?"

That would be laugh-out-loud funny if it weren't so sadly ignorant. Campbell knows about as much about Harriet Beecher Stowe as I do quantum physics.

...As in nothing...
Please read the entire article on Huffington Post. Y'all really should apologize to Spike Lee. Wake up!!!!


  1. Brother, I've been vacilating on whether to write a post on this issue of Django unchained. Because it's been stomped into the ground, pretty much.
    But there is an issue that hasn't been addressed, from my perspective, and is worth discussing, and it needs to be discussed. It's up in my spirit and won't go away, so I better just go on ahead and write about it.

    1. Hey Anna. You should write about it. I look forward to reading your article.