Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Birthday to 'Our Shining Black Prince'

49 years ago today, Shelton Jackson Lee, better known as 'Spike' was born in Atlanta, Ga. Raised in Brooklyn, and educated formally at Morehouse College and later New York University, Spike has become one of the most importantly provocative filmmakers ever.

Love him or hate him, he's undeniably in your face whether it's on the screen, through the words he shares during one of his many lectures at college campuses, or cheering on his beloved Knicks courtside at the Garden.

Not unlike my other favorite filmmaker from New York, Spike does not waver or compromise for his art, is not concerned with the hemming and hawing of critics, and produces, rather consistently, fine feature films. No, his films won't necessarily turn the profits of Tyler Perry's or the Wayans brothers, but his films get critical praise and Oscar nominations, and in the picture business, despite the almighty dollar, notoriety is the ultimate measuring stick.

So, happy birthday to you Spike, my dear Morehouse brother, and in honor of your 49 years on earth, I will list my 49 favorite Spike Lee moments (in no particular order)

1. May 1979, Graduation from Morehouse College
2. October 1978, Direction of Morehouse's Homecoming Coronation, the first in King Chapel
3. May 1979, Associate Editor of the 1979 Torch Yearbook (a title that later I held)
4. "Please, baby, baby, Please baby, baby, Please!" - She's Gotta Have It
5. The fact that SGHI was in black and white (economically and artistically)
6. "Fifty dollar sneakers and I've got no job!" - She's Gotta Have It
7. "Every man wants a freak, he just doesn't want them for a wife..." - She's Gotta Have It
8. "Nola Darling would never be with a non-weightlifting pseudo Black man like yourself" - She's Gotta Have It
9. "I wash my one fork, my one plate, and my one knife." - She's Gotta Have It
10. The fact that he shot School Daze in the AUC
11. "I'm not trying to dog you. Look at my face. Can't a real Gamma man be attracted to you? Hah?" - School Daze
12. "We were wondering, do revolutionaries eat Kentucky Fried Chicken?" - School Daze
13. "That's Kool and the Gang, brother" - School Daze
14. Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell, Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Rusty Cundeiff, Daryl Bell, Branford Marsalis, Bill Nunn, Kasi Lemmons and Roger Guenever Smith were all in School Daze...together.
15. "You talk more shit than a little bit. Back to mother Africa. Without question we are all Black AMERICANS. I am from DETROIT, MOTOWN, so you can Watusi your monkey ass back to Africa if you want to..." - School Daze
16. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeeee UUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppppppp!!!" - School Daze
17. "Doctor, this is the Mayor talkin'. Doctor...always do the right thing." - Do The Right Thing
18. "Thank God for kneecaps..." - Do The Right Thing
19. "All you ever say is nigga this, and nigga that, but all your favorite people are so called 'niggas'" - Do The Right Thing
20. Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay - Do The Right Thing
21. Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Danny Aiello, Do The Right Thing
22. "Remember when we were in Paris and we were rushing to the plane and I urged you not to buy the same dress. I urged you. You said, no there's no chance that they'll wear the same dress, on the same night and see each other...You owe me fifty dollars." - Mo' Better Blues
23. "Shadow!!!" - Mo' Better Blues
24. "I know, I know I know. I can read. I went to school." - Mo' Better Blues
25. "Yes, I'm asking you to save my life!" - Mo' Better Blues
26. "I'll do it. I'll do it. You know I'll do it. I like getting high. 'Cause I'm a c-c-c-c-c-c-crackhead" - Jungle Fever
27. "Naw, I'm not satisfied yet..." - Malcolm X
28. "Every time you break that seal on a bottle, that's a government seal your breaking!" - Malcolm X
29. "Don't pay those fools no nevermind. Jesus will protect you..." - Malcolm X
30. Crooklyn Soundtrack
31. Clockers Soundtrack
32. "We locked up the wrong brotha" - Clockers
33. Girl 6 Soundtrack
34. Get On The Bus
35. He Got Game Soundtrack
36. The incident with Reggie Miller
37. Coming to speak at Kilgore in the spring of 1997, when we asked what the good word was, and you told us to get a job, and we did the same gesture from 'Do The Right Thing'..."AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"
38. "I was born in Brooklyn!!!" - Do The Right Thing
39. "But your lesbians right?" "We're businesswomen." - She Hate Me
40. All the commercials
41. Sitting courtside at the CAU game in February of 2005
42. Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Feature - Four Little Girls
43. The fact that unlike my other favorite director, you actually do commentary on your DVDs
44. Fight The Power
45. Mars Blackmon
46. Pierre Delacroix
47. Flipper Purify
48. The fact that you love your alma mater.
49. The nod that you gave me as I walked across the stage at my graduation.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.


At Monday, March 20, 2006 9:09:00 PM , Anonymous j said...

you have brought up sooo many good AUC memories! I swear I went to Spelman because of School Daze. oh and for's fiddy dollars. LOL


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