spike lee

Spike Lee

The man we know as “Spike” was born Shelton Jackson Lee on
March 20, 1957 in Atlanta ,Georgia. The first of five children, he
got the nickname Spike from his mother for being “a tough baby”.
Spike’s tendency to be difficult is one that goes right back to the
crib. The infant Spike, much like the man he grew into, was small
but loud. The family he was born into was great for a number of
reasons. His parents, college educated newlyweds, both came
from families stressing creativity and black tradition. Bill Lee, Spikes
father, was born in 1929 in Snow Hill Alabama. He was a jazz
composer/musician nicknamed “Bleek”. His mother Jacquelyn
Shelton Lee taught art and black history. The Lees tried to instill a
sense of humor in their children, along with educating them in
black culture. They rationed the young ones’ TV time, Forbade
rock music, In favor of jazz and folk, and had each offspring learn
to play a instrument. Spike, a shy, quiet boy, took guitar and
piano lessons. He also played and loved every type of sport.
Spike denies that he ever had any thoughts of becoming a film
maker in those early years. Becoming one of very few black film
makers has made Spike a black African American entrepreneur
and has given many young black people something to believe in
and strive for. Spike Lee regions as one of the world’s most
controversial filmmakers thus contributing to the controversial
issues in his films. Movies have a way of enriching us like no other
art form. They can change us, touch us and influence us. They
can introduce us to foreign lands and foreign ideas. At their best,
they can invite us to reconsider our point of view. Spike Lee the
acclaimed movie director/ producer/ writer/ actor, is the most
influential filmmaker of his time. His directing caused major
controversy in his early years, but as he matured he began to
present his ideas more open-mindedly and tolerantly. His
collection of films enrich us with new ways that we as a human
race can learn to live together in peace. His work builds new
roads for the world to start on a new journey. If Spike has his way,
the journey that began as a hate-filled race war will turn into the
road of understanding and tolerance that will one day end in
mutual respect and harmony. Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee has
been a hero to many people. He has brought out the real issues
that people need to see and confront.
(One last item: when it comes to capitalizing names of races,
book publishers, magazines and newspapers all have their own
policies and house styles. Some capitalize “White” but not
“blacks”; others [ including Spike lee’s books capitalize “Black” but
not “white”]. Aiming to be fair and grammatically correct this
paper capitalizes them both)
II. Never has any young black director/ producer/ writer/ actor/
editor done so much to pave the path for others to follow.
A. Spike Lee made his mark as an entrepreneur by taking
the risks necessary to make films based on African American life.
1. “He’s the one filmmaker who’s made it and stayed black”
said director John Singleton (Pa pg. 188)
a. Spike Lee was among the first black filmmakers to win
respect in Hollywood with out going “Hollywood”. He had little
interest in flamboyant lifestyles that the film industry offered.
b. Spike has made his films to show how it really is for
c. Lee holds back no stops, he gives out the truth.
2. “I want to be remembered for honest, true portrayals of blacks
and for being our richness to the screen” says Spike (Bernotas
B. Spike was concerned that there were few blacks in
Hollywood working behind the cameras as producers, directors,
cameramen. He dreamed of ushering in a new era of black
filmmaking in Hollywood.
1. “Spike put this trend in vogue” notes Mark Canton of
Warner Bros. “His talent opened the door for others” Van Peables
agrees. “If it weren’t for Spike I wouldn’t be here.” (Bernotas
C. “I’m not making movies to become famous or become
filthy rich or to have ten million beautiful women. I just want to
present black people as I know them.” (Bernotas pg-50)
1. “ The important thing is, I’m doing what makes me
happy,99% of the people in this world go to their grave having
worked at a job they hated.” (Bernotas pg-52)
D. Spike has done much more than make movies to help out
his fellow repressed black brother.
1. Spike has given money