Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spike Lee - The 'Black Enterprise' Press Release 2009

Famed Director Spike Lee Goes One-on-One with Award-Winning Journalist Ed Gordon to Deliver a No-Holds-Barred Interview on Movies, Politics, Black Genocide, Stereotypes, and Tyler Perry

Thu May 28, 2009 3:37pm EDT

NEW YORK--(Business Wire)--
On this weekend`s special edition of Our World With Black Enterprise,
award-winning director Spike Lee sits down for an interview with host Ed Gordon
for a no holds barred interview rife with the artist`s trademark frankness.
Taped live at the 14th annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, Lee
takes no prisoners, tackling being labeled controversial, discussing his concern
about the image of blacks in the media, and weighing in with his thoughts on
contemporaries John Singleton and Tyler Perry.

Our World with Black Enterprise will air its exclusive interview with Spike Lee
on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31 on syndicated stations across the
country. Highlights include:

On his films being labeled "controversial":

I think journalists are lazy-how do you define people with one word? The subject
matters we`ve done in my films-I don`t think they are controversial. I don`t
think racism is controversial, it`s thought provoking. If you look at how we
dealt with that in Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X [etc.]. I don`t
think School Daze was controversial. We looked at what I feel are the
superficial differences that keep us from being a more unified
people.Superficial differences based on skin complexion, hair texture,
class-that type of stuff. That`s not controversial.

On his films becoming a part of people`s lives:

It`s great.Many people have told me over the years that they ended up going to a
historically black college because of School Daze and they never listened to
jazz before Mo` Better Blues or Do The Right Thing. Barack took Michelle to see
Do The Right Thing. That was their first date, so it`s good to hear that sort of
thing ... that`s President Barack and the First Lady, Michelle (laughter).

On the difficulty he has funding movies:

I still think that with material that is deeply rooted in African American
history, it`s harder to get that stuff made. I have a trilogy of black biopics
that I have yet to get funded-Jackie Robinson, another one on Joe Louis, then
most recently James Brown-I want Wesley Snipes to play James Brown. We just
can`t get the financing for them. So we just have to be more creative and try
and get the money. Even with the last film, Miracle at St. Anna-the bulk of that
money came from Europe.

On the era of Blaxploitation movies:

I understood that a lot of actors were getting work, I understood that a lot of
people were getting experience behind the camera. But I don`t know why we were
glorifying drug dealers. It`s the same thing with this gangta rap-you know, the
glorification of "thuggery" and gangsters. ... These hip-hop guys boast how many
times they have seen Scarface.It`s crazy. It is really leading to our demise.

On stereotypical images of blacks in the media:

Each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors but I still
think there is a lot of stuff out today that is "coonery" and buffoonery. I know
it`s making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better. ... I am
a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads
for these two shows (Tyler Perry`s Meet the Browns and House of Payne) and I am
scratching my head. ... We got a black President and we going back to Mantan
Moreland and Sleep `n` Eat?

On Tyler Perry and what the black consumer (really) wants to see:

We`ve had this discussion back and forth. When John Singleton [made Boyz in the
Hood], people came out to see it. But when he did Rosewood, nobody showed up. So
a lot of this is on us! You vote with your pocketbook, your wallet.You vote with
your time sitting in front of the idiot box, and [Tyler Perry] has a huge
audience.We shouldn`t think that Tyler Perry is going to make the same film that
I am going to make, or that John Singleton or my cousin Malcolm Lee [would
make]. As African Americans, we`re not one monolithic group so there is room for
all of that.But at the same time, for me, the imaging is troubling and it
harkens back to Amos n` Andy.

On the election of a black President:

It was witnessing history.It was like being alive when Jackie Robinson
integrated baseball, when Joe Louis knocked out (Max) Schmeling-it was like
that. When Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers, every African American in
this country was praying for him. When Joe Louis fought and won, black
communities-in Detroit, Harlem, Chicago-black communities from all over the
world would come out of the house after listening to Joe knock out those guys on
the radio ... and celebrate.With [President Obama`s victory] it was the same

On what black America must do after the Obama victory:

Now that Barack Hussein Obama has become the 44th president of the United
States, [some people want to act] like we`ve been delivered, like there is no
more racism, no more prejudice. That`s not the case at all.So we have to stay
vigilant. We live in a time where some young black men say they`re okay with the
fact that they might not live past 18 years old. Any time that young black men
think like that, you know something is wrong. We`re killing each other. It`s
genocide and a lot of it is fueled by many factors. But we have to stop it if we
are going to survive as a people.

Our World with Black Enterprise will air its exclusive interview with Spike Lee
on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31, in major markets across the country,
including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Check your local listings
and visit for additional time and station

About Our World with Black Enterprise

Our World with Black Enterprise is a weekly, half hour television series that
spotlights the contemporary African American experience. Hosted by Emmy
Award-winning broadcast journalist Ed Gordon, the nationally syndicated program
features news, entertainment, roundtable discussions, and special interest
stories about African Americans from all walks of life. It debuted in September
2006. Visit for show times, stations, and video

Black Enterprise
Andrew Wadium, 212-886-9598

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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