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Disjointed: The Racist Nature of Spike Lee Films

Updated on October 25, 2016

The Auteur

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The Racist Race Baiter

For filmgoers who may not be aware of the source material for the upcoming film, Chi-Raq (2015) the Spike Lee feature takes liberal rights from the Aristophanes play, Lysistrata. In that work the females gather together to deny any sexual congress with the warring male population until they cease fighting the Peloponnesian War. This was 411 BCE. Fast forward to 2015 and Chi-Raq features the same thing only the gun violence and feuding gangs take the center stage. Lee is of course not the first (and most likely won’t be the last) to be influenced by the comedic play. Notable playwright August Wilson in his work, Black Bart and the Sacred Hills (1977) presents the same premise but is not included in his outstanding Century Cycle so gets little attention. So far, the Lee film has received quite significant scrutiny.

Because of its title alone, the film has garnered criticism and has been lambasted for presenting the city of Chicago, Illinois in a bad light. But the film’s director is no stranger to controversy. Most recently Lee embroiled himself in a contention between owners of a home which Lee reported falsely as George Zimmerman’s address. Lee and the homeowners settled the dispute for a reported $1.2 million. Aside from his legal entanglements, it’s his racist films which raise the most ire. From the explosive and virulent film, Do the Right Thing (1989) to the mishandling of Malcolm X (1992), Lee fails to bring an objective, rational sense to the matter of race.

Now, he has flops that don’t even delve too deeply into race but are nonetheless examples of his backward mindset in relating a yarn. Girl Six (1996), She Hate Me (2004) and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) remain but a few of Lee’s mawkish, awkward, clumsy duds which present little if any substance. His style is that of a maudlin huckster who offers nothing but misplaced tension and some of the most terrible endings in film history. His mysticism in his latter works only exemplifies his confused and incoherent thought patterns which he injects within his projects. He makes Spike Lee Joints, while nothing in his films could be more disjointed.


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