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He Got It Done On His Own Terms – Mr. Spike Lee (Celebrating Black History) January 31, 2012

Posted by msbobbieg in Uncategorized.
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The following (Black History Profile) appeared in my local Newspaper (The Belleville View) in February of 2004.  I wrote it back then to share with the readers of my small town and now I have updated it and added some flare and spice so I can now share it with you.  (Celebrating Black History Month)     Enjoy !!!

                            

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Doing it His Way – Mr. Spike Lee                                               

By: Bobbie Jones

 

No matter how you may feel about his politics or his in your face attitude, Spike Lee, acclaimed Afro-American film maker has made it his mission to bring slightly unpopular subject matter to the big screen in order to spark discussion, and I for one love him for that.

Born Shelton Jackson Lee, to a Jazz musician father, and a mother who was a schoolteacher in 1957, the family called Atlanta Georgia home.  However, that would not be Lee’s home for long.  Lee soon moved to Brooklyn, New York where his entire young life would change and where he would later find the inspiration for his early film work that would put him on the map.

Lee’s work totally fascinated me and virtually took over my life back in 1989 when I saw my first Spike Lee movie, “Do the Right Thing.”  I even remember the feeling I had when that movie hit the big screen.  To me it was history in the making, despite all the controversy that surrounded the movie and it’s subject matter.  It was one of the most talked about films of its time, no matter which way you felt about it.

And that was the key to Lee’s success, getting people to talk.  I had always wondered did he set out to do the controversy thing or did he just want to see topics that African Americans struggled with put before the masses. Lee wanted that, but he also wanted the dialogue that came along with such topics as a women’s sexuality and her ability to own it (She’s Gotta Have It, 1986), interracial dating (Jungle Fever, 1991) and the horrors of the college recruiting game (He Got Game, 1998).

Lee has entertained and shocked his audience, captivated and left his onlookers speechless and these things can’t be said about many individuals.  His determination to be a filmmaker is awe-inspiring, I remember seeing an interview where Lee was explaining how he had maxed out his credit cards in order to get a film project completed.  Now, did he know that gamble would pay off?  Whether he knew it or not, it did.  However, he would always face financial challenges when it came to making his films, but like a true champion – he always got them done.

He made fast friends in Hollywood, like Denzel Washington, and Ossie Davis; they would take up his cause and raise money amongst themselves, just to see Lee’s film completed.  These actors also appeared in many of Lee’s films, often at union scale or below.  No big Hollywood checks were cut when Lee was on the set, but to be a part of a Spike Lee project, many felt it was an honor.

Lee has inspired many that have come after him and there is a long list now of African American, filmmaker, writer and producers and some are all three in one, as Lee was when he first started out.  Yes, no matter what you may think of his outspoken views or his controversial ways, once Lee discovered the beautiful art of storytelling through films, like it or not, there was no stopping him, and I for one – love him for that.

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A very special mention – for the late great Ossie Davis – who appeared in many of Spike Lee’s films and for whom I truly adored.

Spike Lee also produced a fine and telling documentary entitled (4 Little Girls) and if you have not yet seen it I encourage all to please find it, rent it and watch it.  I have included some information about it in a video clip below

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– Photos courtesy of Google Images on the Web

– Videos courtesy of You Tube

– Special Thanks to the Belleville View for running the original article

– Copyright (c)  Bobbie Jones – January 2012

– All Rights Reserved

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