As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Spike Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for Afro-American voices to be heard. His movies, a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques informed by an unwavering commitment toward challenging cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity, both solidified his own standing as one of contemporary cinema’s most influential figures and furthered the careers of actors including Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne. Born Shelton Jackson Lee in Atlanta, GA, on March 20, 1957, he was raised in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. After attending Atlanta’s prestigious Morehouse College, returned to New York to make his first movie, 1977’s Last Hustle in Brooklyn, a portrait of the area’s Black and Puerto Rican communities… read more
I didn't see a black person till I was in my early teens. I was a suburban white kid in Denmark. And while my white suburban classmates, who had never seen a black person in person either, would listen to rap on their walkmen and start to dress and act black, I started smoking Spike Lee joints in my room. The gateway drug was Boyz n The Hood, but Spike Lee's shit was that much stronger and I got hooked. At the moment I'm a recovering Spike addict - he hasn't been relevant or interesting since 25th Hour, which is one of the best directed films of the 2000s. I don't know if he'll ever be great again, all filmmakers have an expiration date, and he's been stale for 11 years now. I still get high, from time to time, on his 90s joints - Crooklyn, Clockers and Girl 6 in particular.
His documentary work has been far superior to his fiction in the last decade. I appreciate many of his films, but on reflection of his output to date...I hate say it but he's very overrated. Unless Oldboy is a surprise I think his best days are way behind him. I think more credit needs to be given to Ernest Dickerson and his other collaborators for the success of his earlier films.
Some of his films are okay. But as a person, he's a shallow, hypocritical, hateful child vying for attention; I can't wait to see who he accuses of racism next. His films are praised for their complexity but all I get from them are his hatred and anger, and the oversimplifying of a painful modern issue. As a great man once said, "hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."