40 Acres and A Fool

  • hoodiecouture

    Love this article, but what is scary is there are so many fools out here that will be watching this film lol

    • Michael Murray

      I don’t think you can call someone a fool for wanting to see the film and judge things for themself… The beautiful thing about humans is we have different perspectives on life, so what someone like me might take away from seeing the film could be completely different from the author of this article…

      • John

        I wholeheartedly agree, Michael.

    • Dion McGill

      I’ve actually seen the movie once, and will be seeing it again this Friday. I think the film offers a lot of critiques, and it does offer some thought as to how the city/government interact with black communities in moments of crisis. I don’t think the film pacifies white accountability, nor do I see a problem with demanding black responsibility. We are failing ourselves just as much as the system has failed us here in Chicago. The system needs to be better. but we also need to do better. I think that is a fair assessment. While I disagree with Aja’s assessment of the film, or of Spike’s responsibility to Chicago, I do appreciate the food for thought.

      • Robert Lester

        You are on point in your assessment

      • John

        I’m with you too, Dion.

      • John

        I’m with you too, Dion.

  • http://www.RadiatedMen.com/ Son_Of_Dad

    Aja definitely offered a perspective on the film that have yet to hear publicly, but that many are discussing in private…which is why is the film seemingly making the situation in Chiraq squarely a Black problem? A few mentions of Chicago’s gangster history are not enough, when ‘Chiraq’ is bathed in decades of political corruption, social engineering gone mad and now gentrification. My issue (so far) with this film is the same as it was with the (Malcolm) X film…”dig deeper, Spike”.

    On another note, why has there yet to have been a film about the vicious machinations of J. Marion Sims “for the sake of science” via dehumanization of Black women??? We’ll get about 13 more Madeas and 8 more seasons of Lucius Lion before that happens, but I do comics/graphic novels and thankfully I feel inspired to tell an important story.

    Aja, love you, sis.

    CFG

    • Burton

      Probably because the people who really want to tell the story probably don’t have access to the resources to tell this story….

    • John

      Most if not all of us need to “dig deeper” and think more broadly.

    • John

      Most if not all of us need to “dig deeper” and think more broadly.

    • Leasy

      When you do the novel, would like to know. Looking forward to it

    • Leasy

      When you do the novel, would like to know. Looking forward to it

  • allen

    I find it interesting that all of these Black opinions are being expressed at the end of Mr. Obama’s second term in office…
    Nothing was said by any Black people, including Black politicians, Blacklivesmatter, or any Black commentators, during the first years of Mr. Obama’s administration, when he was allowing the banks to steal property from 68 million people….
    Nothing was said, as Israel and Saudi Arabia, along with the banks, engaged in open support for ISIS, Al Qeada, and Hezbollah…
    Now, there will be a permanent force of young men, none of whom will be members of the elite, stationed in the Middle East..
    The war in the Middle East, the war on drugs, the TPP trade agreement and the climate summit, are all intended to introduce new methods of controlling the 99%…
    For the solution to the problem read, “Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?”
    It’s on Facebook as an editorial page and group page…There is also an e-book (30 pages) which can be read for “free” on Amazon.

    • John

      Excellent take, Allen!

      This comes under my “Myopia” category and reminds me of the continual “broaden your thinking” calls I have been making to the people of our Black “community”.

    • John

      Excellent take, Allen!

      This comes under my “Myopia” category and reminds me of the continual “broaden your thinking” calls I have been making to the people of our Black “community”.

    • Hannibal Alexander

      since you don’t know every single black person, you can’t really say something like “Nothing was said by any Black people”

      • allen

        You are correct, speaking in a literal sense….Let me be more specific.
        Black politicians, Black commentators, the Congressional Black Caucus or Black lives matter.

      • allen

        You are correct, speaking in a literal sense….Let me be more specific.
        Black politicians, Black commentators, the Congressional Black Caucus or Black lives matter.

        • kiki

          If people don’t know the root of the problem, nothing will be said.

        • kiki

          If people don’t know the root of the problem, nothing will be said.

    • Hannibal Alexander

      since you don’t know every single black person, you can’t really say something like “Nothing was said by any Black people”

  • Robert Lester

    “This film is in danger of pacifying white accountability while demanding Black responsibility.” this is the most ill informed statement (from the article) on this post.
    There is no such thing as white Accountability for black ills. Accountability is a two way street. We can’t get black men to account for their babies in the streets of Chicago, but we gon make white folks assume Accountability for any of it. Hmm and black responsibility… Such a dirty dirty concept. Oprah, all the black FAMU grads that can’t wait to graduate and get back to Chicago, Michael Jordan and all the black athletes that have made millions in the city. A city full of the most educated, most influential, most wealthy, and most resourceful black folks on the planet………….. AND black Accountability is ignored for white Accountability, but As SPIKE IS TRYING TO DEMONSTRATE, black Accountability is what brings about black responsibility.

    Sister be ACCOUNTABLE for the caliber of the man that gets your treasure, and men will be RESPONSIBLE for meeting a higher standard.

    • Hafez Harris

      I have to agree….
      At least HALF of the problems with black folks are how other black folks treat each other…
      Start there.

      respect

      • Nikke Felix

        Lol. Your comment is a direct contradiction to the thoughts of the great Dr. Martin Luther King. Most people learn in school that King was a man who preached love and nonviolence. In truth, Dr. King’s political ideas, while firmly rooted in Christian ideals, were far more radical than American textbooks let on. King supported reparations for slavery, opposed the idea that Blacks should pull themselves up “by their own bootstraps,” and was highly critical of capitalism. “You can’t talk about ending slums,” he once told his staff, “without first saying profit must be taken out of slums.

        When Dr. King told Harry Belafonte “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house he knew exactly what he was talking about.

        Before the slums became ghettos Dr. King realized we needed economic power, Black men need jobs so that they could support their families. It was for this reason that he started the ” Poor peoples campaign,” but he was killed before it gained momentum.

        We never got our economic relief and now the house is burning with us in it, the profit he was talking about is alive and thriving, in the form of the prison industrial complex. Everyone’s getting paid off of Black bodies, business is booming. Whites make up 72% of Drug users while Blacks make up 13% however, the jail is comprised of 60% black and 25% white. Why? Well because cops go to the ghettos to collect their paychecks (black bodies). Getting quotas from people who don’t have a voice is much easier than dealing with kids whose parents have the funds and connections to make the system.

        Let’s not forget that the idea of Ghettos were first established in 1516 to house the Jews. Later America experimented with this idea using Blacks through redlining and jim crow laws.

        And I won’t even go into how the Black Panthers were infiltrated and how drugs and guns magically ended up in the ghettos with societies undesirables.

        For us to take the blame just for the few items I have mentioned is confusing to me. Everything is related and to find the source of who is causing chaos in our communities all we need to do is follow the money trail of whose making money of our bodies.

        Here’s an article about cops planting drugs on young black males.

        http://henrycountyreport.com/blog/2015/12/01/leaked-documents-reveal-dothan-police-department-planted-drugs-on-young-black-men-for-years-district-attorney-doug-valeska-complicit/

        • Hafez Harris

          Nikke I don’t think you can assume Dr King’s views in the late 60s to be what his views would be after experiencing the 70s as well as the “Crack era” of the 80s and 90s in the same light.

          The Governmental fix was in even before Dr King met LBJ…

          Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963… “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.

          WAKE UP Black people….today!

          Not try to ACT like we do not have more work to do on our own TODAY due to our mismanagement of our own progress in the past 50 years.

          I hope you watched Spike’s movie and have been following the news about Chicago and our progress for the past 50 years in a better light than what you think you know about Dr King or Harry Belafonte (who was also known for secretly dating Dr King’s wife too and took out a insurance policy while Dr King was in Alabama that paid for her burial)

          *wicked grin*

          This is not a game.

          respect

        • Hafez Harris

          Nikke I don’t think you can assume Dr King’s views in the late 60s to be what his views would be after experiencing the 70s as well as the “Crack era” of the 80s and 90s in the same light.

          The Governmental fix was in even before Dr King met LBJ…

          Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963… “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”.

          WAKE UP Black people….today!

          Not try to ACT like we do not have more work to do on our own TODAY due to our mismanagement of our own progress in the past 50 years.

          I hope you watched Spike’s movie and have been following the news about Chicago and our progress for the past 50 years in a better light than what you think you know about Dr King or Harry Belafonte (who was also known for secretly dating Dr King’s wife too and took out a insurance policy while Dr King was in Alabama that paid for her burial)

          *wicked grin*

          This is not a game.

          respect

          • Nikke Felix

            Touche my dear friend. Upon reflection I actually agree with your previous post. We cannot hold the people who benefit from institutional racism accountable for any of our problems. Black accountability is the only way we will move forward. I always preach this message, but for some reason the concept seemed foreign coming from someone else. I donate to Dr. Umar Johnson’s school and I am networking with people to start a community garden. We need fresh fruits and vegetables in our communities and it will gives the kids something to do with their time 🙂 I hope when I see the film I’ll walk away knowing it will open the eye’s of at least some of the youth and hopefully their parents. I just checked my twitter feed it looks like there is a protest in Chicago right now. If your out there be safe.

          • Nikke Felix

            Touche my dear friend. Upon reflection I actually agree with your previous post. We cannot hold the people who benefit from institutional racism accountable for any of our problems. Black accountability is the only way we will move forward. I always preach this message, but for some reason the concept seemed foreign coming from someone else. I donate to Dr. Umar Johnson’s school and I am networking with people to start a community garden. We need fresh fruits and vegetables in our communities and it will gives the kids something to do with their time 🙂 I hope when I see the film I’ll walk away knowing it will open the eye’s of at least some of the youth and hopefully their parents. I just checked my twitter feed it looks like there is a protest in Chicago right now. If your out there be safe.

          • Hafez Harris

            I went and saw the movie here in DC on Saturday…
            It was ONLY 20% sold out and the crowd was majority NON people of color in attendance.
            I found the presentation to be refreshing and very typically Spike’s style.
            BUTT…
            *wicked grin*
            What I got from the whole “humorous” twist was a message I think many Women of Color missed too.
            Empowering our SISTERS to be more productive and purposeful in their community.
            That power that many sisters have misused for so many years in our evolution NEEDS to be more positive and productive in demanding a change in our own culture.

            What I have been noticing as of late is a lack of accountability in our own sisters and their ability to take more of a productive role in holding everyone accountable as well.

            I really think a lot of people, especially sisters are missing the point of the message in this movie too.

            I kinda wish I saw more positive discourse from them as well.

            I really hate when I see our own complaining about what little we have by demanding the few we have do better even before watching the damn movie.

            If Dr King was alive today, AND his wife too?
            I’m sure they would both have a different view of our progress as a whole.

            respect

          • Hafez Harris

            I went and saw the movie here in DC on Saturday…
            It was ONLY 20% sold out and the crowd was majority NON people of color in attendance.
            I found the presentation to be refreshing and very typically Spike’s style.
            BUTT…
            *wicked grin*
            What I got from the whole “humorous” twist was a message I think many Women of Color missed too.
            Empowering our SISTERS to be more productive and purposeful in their community.
            That power that many sisters have misused for so many years in our evolution NEEDS to be more positive and productive in demanding a change in our own culture.

            What I have been noticing as of late is a lack of accountability in our own sisters and their ability to take more of a productive role in holding everyone accountable as well.

            I really think a lot of people, especially sisters are missing the point of the message in this movie too.

            I kinda wish I saw more positive discourse from them as well.

            I really hate when I see our own complaining about what little we have by demanding the few we have do better even before watching the damn movie.

            If Dr King was alive today, AND his wife too?
            I’m sure they would both have a different view of our progress as a whole.

            respect

      • Nikke Felix

        Lol. Your comment is a direct contradiction to the thoughts of the great Dr. Martin Luther King. Most people learn in school that King was a man who preached love and nonviolence. In truth, Dr. King’s political ideas, while firmly rooted in Christian ideals, were far more radical than American textbooks let on. King supported reparations for slavery, opposed the idea that Blacks should pull themselves up “by their own bootstraps,” and was highly critical of capitalism. “You can’t talk about ending slums,” he once told his staff, “without first saying profit must be taken out of slums.

        When Dr. King told Harry Belafonte “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house he knew exactly what he was talking about.

        Before the slums became ghettos Dr. King realized we needed economic power, Black men need jobs so that they could support their families. It was for this reason that he started the ” Poor peoples campaign,” but he was killed before it gained momentum.

        We never got our economic relief and now the house is burning with us in it, the profit he was talking about is alive and thriving, in the form of the prison industrial complex. Everyone’s getting paid off of Black bodies, business is booming. Whites make up 72% of Drug users while Blacks make up 13% however, the jail is comprised of 60% black and 25% white. Why? Well because cops go to the ghettos to collect their paychecks (black bodies). Getting quotas from people who don’t have a voice is much easier than dealing with kids whose parents have the funds and connections to make the system.

        Let’s not forget that the idea of Ghettos were first established in 1516 to house the Jews. Later America experimented with this idea using Blacks through redlining and jim crow laws.

        And I won’t even go into how the Black Panthers were infiltrated and how drugs and guns magically ended up in the ghettos with societies undesirables.

        For us to take the blame just for the few items I have mentioned is confusing to me. Everything is related and to find the source of who is causing chaos in our communities all we need to do is follow the money trail of whose making money of our bodies.

        Here’s an article about cops planting drugs on young black males.

        http://henrycountyreport.com/blog/2015/12/01/leaked-documents-reveal-dothan-police-department-planted-drugs-on-young-black-men-for-years-district-attorney-doug-valeska-complicit/

    • John

      Yes! Great points!

      And to ask Spike Lee (directly or indirectly) to “provide jobs” is a non-starter. The better question to ask him might be: “Are you, Michael Jordan, Creflo Dollar, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and many other members our Black community organizing other wealthy Blacks to form business consortiums to strategically and profitably invest here? If not, why not?”

      One “Million Man March” I can think of would call for wealthy Blacks to invest in our community.

      If there is a “Black community” (geographically and/or otherwise), we are all accountable for its survival (despite denials); from our wealthy elites, to those of us struggling financially. So elites also have to come together now, ready to rise above the selfishness bred into them by American capitalism…to invest in a wide range of community-building enterprises serving to generate jobs, improve health and education for black people. If we wait too much longer it will be too late.

      Obviously, lots of research, thinking and planning would have to be devoted to such a major undertaking. We won’t reap results overnight. But with a concerted and determined effort, we can and we will surely succeed. Actually we must succeed.

      As I see it, some of the major areas of concern and those requiring immediate address are jobs, entreprepreneurial skills development, health and education (not necessarily in the order listed). At any rate, here are a just a few ideas which come immediately to mind:

      1. Schools to produce the highest-quality Black writers – to fuel robust and high-quality film and television content featuring Black actors, actresses, stories and other much-needed media content.

      2. Reviving our long-dormant independent film industry (but this time including the integral distribution network) Using the old Hollywood “contract” system might be a decent model to start off with, to best protect against “starving artist” syndrome.

      3. Focused and strategic funding of HBC’s with a focus on critical thinking, the arts, humanities, science and other training with viable and sustainable career paths.

      4. Attracting our best athletes back to our schools; broadcasting games and running revenue through our media inftrastructure and HBC’s, instead of through mainstream media and white universities.

      5. Targeted funding of Black private schools and those Black educators educating our Black children most effectively, according to the highest standards.

      6. Funding the development of Black enterpreneurs and small businesses.

      There are of course many other pressing needs to be addressed But now is the time to begin serious, reasoned and mature discussions on the need for making these moves, our immediate and longer term goals, and how we are to go about achieving them. Sniping at one another and calling each other “fool” just won’t work. This goes for all of us. We must all open our ears, dig deeper and think more broadly now than ever before.

      • Robert Lester

        These are really good points. I’m going to share them with some people that think I’m the only one that has this perspective.

        • John

          Very good, Robert! That’s very heartening, to say the least! There is much to be done and most of us are fiddling while the Black community (what’s left of it) disintegrates. Is there any way here to privately exchange contact info?

          • Robert Lester

            John search me on facebook Robert Lester, Upper Marlboro MD. I’ve got a scarf on in the pic

          • John

            Thanks, Robert. Will do!

          • John

            Thanks, Robert. Will do!

          • Robert Lester

            John search me on facebook Robert Lester, Upper Marlboro MD. I’ve got a scarf on in the pic

        • John

          Very good, Robert! That’s very heartening, to say the least! There is much to be done and most of us are fiddling while the Black community (what’s left of it) disintegrates. Is there any way here to privately exchange contact info?

      • Robert Lester

        These are really good points. I’m going to share them with some people that think I’m the only one that has this perspective.

      • Leasy

        You make some sound arguments and would have to agree we need to start now ( not withstanding those who have been in the know and action for some time). School/state education though would not in my opinion produce the free thinking writers we require as more and more state education is designed to produce workers of a particular non thinking caliber.. Unless people are more actively involved in state education, concerned about what goes on in school and what our children are being fed that curtails their ability to think. As you said, we must dig deeper and that often entails sacrifice and being out of ones ‘comfort’ zone.

        • John

          Thank you, Leasy.

          Yes, as we have so little control over public/state education I suggest focusing on private schools (learning) which definitely includes home schooling; with the term “school” being used in it’s broadest, most comprehensive sense.

          Innovative ways to assist those Black parents who are willing and able to provide whatever level of education to their children at home should be implemented. If and when the child has reached a level beyond the ability of the parent to teach, teaching duties can be handed off to the next best option; whatever is deemed best by relevant and responsible parties.

          I’d actually like to see us progress to the point when we use public schools more as but one of an array of educational resources, rather than as the sole source of our learning experience. It will take a while too, for this concept to be embraced in our community; particularly by those who remain wedded and embedded in the existing structure.

        • John

          Thank you, Leasy.

          Yes, as we have so little control over public/state education I suggest focusing on private schools (learning) which definitely includes home schooling; with the term “school” being used in it’s broadest, most comprehensive sense.

          Innovative ways to assist those Black parents who are willing and able to provide whatever level of education to their children at home should be implemented. If and when the child has reached a level beyond the ability of the parent to teach, teaching duties can be handed off to the next best option; whatever is deemed best by relevant and responsible parties.

          I’d actually like to see us progress to the point when we use public schools more as but one of an array of educational resources, rather than as the sole source of our learning experience. It will take a while too, for this concept to be embraced in our community; particularly by those who remain wedded and embedded in the existing structure.

      • Gordyman

        Why do so many Black people still believe in capitalism when it has done more harm to us than good?

        • John

          Gordyman, the only Black person I dare speak for is myself. I have no beliefs, nor do I “believe in’ anything, including capitalism.

          I roll with what works at the time; whatever is appropriate for each situation.

          I would also suggest that most of the “harm” done to Black people has not necessarily been by capitalism, but by those wielding capitalism as a weapon against Black people.

          What I advocate is Black people exercising our rights and obligation to wield whatever weapons (capitalism included) at our disposal to our benefit. Then others will much less able to use that same weapon against us.

        • John

          Gordyman, the only Black person I dare speak for is myself. I have no beliefs, nor do I “believe in’ anything, including capitalism.

          I roll with what works at the time; whatever is appropriate for each situation.

          I would also suggest that most of the “harm” done to Black people has not necessarily been by capitalism, but by those wielding capitalism as a weapon against Black people.

          What I advocate is Black people exercising our rights and obligation to wield whatever weapons (capitalism included) at our disposal to our benefit. Then others will much less able to use that same weapon against us.

          • Gordyman

            Haven’t you ever asked yourself why Africa (the land of our ancestry) has the most natural resources of anywhere in the world, and yet it is the poorest continent? Haven’t you ever asked yourself why our people everywhere in the world are the most exploited and oppressed? Why Black youth are resigned to selling drugs, robbing, and killing? Capitalism will always be used as a weapon against Black people because of who holds the power. Why do you think none of these “Buy Black” programs have been initiated? Why do you think the government saw Marcus Garvey as such a threat? They’re never gonna give us that kind of power because as soon as they do, the entire system will collapse.

            Capitalism is fueled by the enslavement and exploitation of dark-skinned people. It is an irrational system based on never-ending growth and expansion at the expense of family, community, and the environment. The solution to our problems is a program of Black autonomy and consciousness, and a collective abandonment of the American political and economic system.

          • Gordyman

            Haven’t you ever asked yourself why Africa (the land of our ancestry) has the most natural resources of anywhere in the world, and yet it is the poorest continent? Haven’t you ever asked yourself why our people everywhere in the world are the most exploited and oppressed? Why Black youth are resigned to selling drugs, robbing, and killing? Capitalism will always be used as a weapon against Black people because of who holds the power. Why do you think none of these “Buy Black” programs have been initiated? Why do you think the government saw Marcus Garvey as such a threat? They’re never gonna give us that kind of power because as soon as they do, the entire system will collapse.

            Capitalism is fueled by the enslavement and exploitation of dark-skinned people. It is an irrational system based on never-ending growth and expansion at the expense of family, community, and the environment. The solution to our problems is a program of Black autonomy and consciousness, and a collective abandonment of the American political and economic system.

    • John

      Yes! Great points!

      And to ask Spike Lee (directly or indirectly) to “provide jobs” is a non-starter. The better question to ask him might be: “Are you, Michael Jordan, Creflo Dollar, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and many other members our Black community organizing other wealthy Blacks to form business consortiums to strategically and profitably invest here? If not, why not?”

      One “Million Man March” I can think of would call for wealthy Blacks to invest in our community.

      If there is a “Black community” (geographically and/or otherwise), we are all accountable for its survival (despite denials); from our wealthy elites, to those of us struggling financially. So elites also have to come together now, ready to rise above the selfishness bred into them by American capitalism…to invest in a wide range of community-building enterprises serving to generate jobs, improve health and education for black people. If we wait too much longer it will be too late.

      Obviously, lots of research, thinking and planning would have to be devoted to such a major undertaking. We won’t reap results overnight. But with a concerted and determined effort, we can and we will surely succeed. Actually we must succeed.

      As I see it, some of the major areas of concern and those requiring immediate address are jobs, entreprepreneurial skills development, health and education (not necessarily in the order listed). At any rate, here are a just a few ideas which come immediately to mind:

      1. Schools to produce the highest-quality Black writers – to fuel robust and high-quality film and television content featuring Black actors, actresses, stories and other much-needed media content.

      2. Reviving our long-dormant independent film industry (but this time including the integral distribution network) Using the old Hollywood “contract” system might be a decent model to start off with, to best protect against “starving artist” syndrome.

      3. Focused and strategic funding of HBC’s with a focus on critical thinking, the arts, humanities, science and other training with viable and sustainable career paths.

      4. Attracting our best athletes back to our schools; broadcasting games and running revenue through our media inftrastructure and HBC’s, instead of through mainstream media and white universities.

      5. Targeted funding of Black private schools and those Black educators educating our Black children most effectively, according to the highest standards.

      6. Funding the development of Black enterpreneurs and small businesses.

      There are of course many other pressing needs to be addressed But now is the time to begin serious, reasoned and mature discussions on the need for making these moves, our immediate and longer term goals, and how we are to go about achieving them. Sniping at one another and calling each other “fool” just won’t work. This goes for all of us. We must all open our ears, dig deeper and think more broadly now than ever before.

  • Shawn Peters

    All of Aja’s points about systemic violence in our communities and the false and even predatory analogy of the title of the film are both salient and correct. I’m positive that Aja wrote this from a place of passion and love for our people and struggles. BUT..shouldn’t folks watch the entire film before writing think pieces about it? To be fair, we also need to contextualize Spike Lee in the pantheon of his career; not just his films but his impact on the industry as a whole. Spike Lee is single handedly responsible for more black filmmakers, gaffers, DPs, casting directors, grips, art directors.. being in the various unions of the craft. Not just by his mere existence but because he used his power to force unions to enroll black people. Before him black enrollment in these unions was laughable. All of our favorite black films pre-Spike were either white directed or in few cases black directed with all white crews. It was a political and economic power move for him to hire black crews. When there was tens in the unions now there are 1000’s, that’s quantifiable; that’s fact. Spike might be opinionated and on the wrong side of many political dialogues but to insinuate that he doesn’t love Black People is….. Which other major filmmaker has attempting to address the issues in Chicago and other cities where our communities suffer? Addressing the details of historical and systematic causes of issues like violence in our communities are for documentaries and think pieces. Spike is not stupid, he knows the history. Spike Lee makes movies and that framework has inherent limitations. Maybe his weakness is that his opinions may over shadow his ability to tell a good story. That’s definitely up for debate. I probably wont like the film because of the reasons that I haven’t liked the last few films that he has made. In my opinion his voice as a filmmaker is chained by the fact that he loves us too much.

  • Shawn Peters

    All of Aja’s points about systemic violence in our communities and the false and even predatory analogy of the title of the film are both salient and correct. I’m positive that Aja wrote this from a place of passion and love for our people and struggles. BUT..shouldn’t folks watch the entire film before writing think pieces about it? To be fair, we also need to contextualize Spike Lee in the pantheon of his career; not just his films but his impact on the industry as a whole. Spike Lee is single handedly responsible for more black filmmakers, gaffers, DPs, casting directors, grips, art directors.. being in the various unions of the craft. Not just by his mere existence but because he used his power to force unions to enroll black people. Before him black enrollment in these unions was laughable. All of our favorite black films pre-Spike were either white directed or in few cases black directed with all white crews. It was a political and economic power move for him to hire black crews. When there was tens in the unions now there are 1000’s, that’s quantifiable; that’s fact. Spike might be opinionated and on the wrong side of many political dialogues but to insinuate that he doesn’t love Black People is….. Which other major filmmaker has attempting to address the issues in Chicago and other cities where our communities suffer? Addressing the details of historical and systematic causes of issues like violence in our communities are for documentaries and think pieces. Spike is not stupid, he knows the history. Spike Lee makes movies and that framework has inherent limitations. Maybe his weakness is that his opinions may over shadow his ability to tell a good story. That’s definitely up for debate. I probably wont like the film because of the reasons that I haven’t liked the last few films that he has made. In my opinion his voice as a filmmaker is chained by the fact that he loves us too much.

  • Synthia Rose

    Thank you, Aja, for such an intelligent and accurate deconstruction of the many problems with this film and why it is reprehensible. Spike think he’s doing satire but his mind is not sophisticated enough to properly execute it or to know that it’s a poor style choice for this situation.

  • http://yush.com Yush

    When it comes to discussing a topic such as this one, it’s hard for there to be heat without some fire and/or vice versa. If finding common ground is the ideal, then it will be difficult because everyone has their point of view and interest and never the twain will meet. Or, so it seems…

  • http://yush.com Yush

    When it comes to discussing a topic such as this one, it’s hard for there to be heat without some fire and/or vice versa. If finding common ground is the ideal, then it will be difficult because everyone has their point of view and interest and never the twain will meet. Or, so it seems…

  • https://knutesniche.wordpress.com/ KnutesNiche

    I have not seen Spike’s latest flick, though reading people’s criticisms and reviews I get the impression Spike indirectly addresses America’s expanding and shameful *National Epidemic of Childhood Abuse and Neglect*, *Poverty*, that for more than two generations has deprived untold numbers of American kids from experiencing and enjoying a fairly happy American kid childhood with Safe Streets to travel and play on.

    Child Abuse and Neglect that is primarily responsible for populating our prisons with depressed, angry, frustrated, undisciplined, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults full of resentment for irresponsibly being introduced to a life of hardships and struggles.

    *Early Childhood Abuse and Neglect* that often leads depressed, sometimes suicidal *(NY Times May 18, 2015 – Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers)* children to develop into depressed, angry, frustrated, unpredictable, sometimes suicidal teens and adults lacking empathy and compassion for others, though needing to vent their pent up negative emotions, often causing emotional and physical harm to peaceful people…instead of venting their anger, resentment and pain on the immature single moms and/or dads who introduced them to a life of pain and struggle by irresponsibly building a family before acquiring the practical skills, *PATIENCE* and means to successfully raise and nurture a developing young child who matures into a fairly happy responsible teen and adult with mostly fond memories of his or her childhood.

    The question all concerned, compassionate Americans should seriously be asking ourselves, our elected, civil, social, community and religious leaders is, what real, substantial changes in our society’s attitude and laws need to occur to prevent abuse that often causes young kids to mature into depressed, frustrated, angry teens and adults as a result of experiencing the *emotional and/or physical trauma of an abusive childhood?*

    Black (Children’s) Lives Matter; Take Pride In Parenting; End Our National Epidemic of Child Abuse and Neglect; End Community Violence, Police Fear & Educator’s Frustrations
    i9

  • Christopher Cormier

    I actually saw the film. The premise of this entire article is based on speculation and because of that, is mostly off-base. The movie does end on a note of personal responsibility which is not mutually exclusive to changing circumstances. It also is a lot less marginalizing than what I read or see in a good portion of comments as it recalls and creates a space for non-black activists, sympathizers and members ala’ John Brown, the priest Rev. Michael Pfleger and numerous others throughout the 60’s civil rights movements. I personally am a bit confused by all the flack this movie receives from mostly blacks who won’t say a thing about hip hop, r&b and other forms of black entertainment and art that perpetuate and glorify some really damning stereotypes and caricatures. Smacks of either hypocrisy as a lesser evil, band-wagon hating as a bit more moronic and out-right self-righteous disingenuous promotion and dismissal of activities that are detrimental to our long-term future as an ultimate unforgivable and irresponsible evil.

  • Alfredo Costa

    Many of the points raised here are addressed in the film. I guess writing lengthy reviews from 17-minute trailers is the new praxis.

  • Alfredo Costa

    Many of the points raised here are addressed in the film. I guess writing lengthy reviews from 17-minute trailers is the new praxis.

  • http://www.artpreneure.com/p/portrait.html Turenne

    I did not see the film. I find this article somehow disturbing. The film must be even more… Consciousness is key to change. What kind of consciousness can we elevate to? What kind of truth do we look for? How do we voice this continuous state of war that is underminding humanity? How do we voice wiseness versus foolishness?

  • http://www.artpreneure.com/p/portrait.html Turenne

    I did not see the film. I find this article somehow disturbing. The film must be even more… Consciousness is key to change. What kind of consciousness can we elevate to? What kind of truth do we look for? How do we voice this continuous state of war that is underminding humanity? How do we voice wiseness versus foolishness?

  • Nikke Felix

    We don’t need a film illustrating violence to wake up our people. A movie about Dr. John Henrik Clarke or Marcus Garvey would have been a much better avenue to ignite a spark of curiosity into the minds of our people that would lead mental freedom and reflection . Institutional racism has censored what we are able to see and read. Most of us know nothing of our Black Wall Streets that were located in these three different locations: Parrish Street, Durham, North Carolina; Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Jackson Ward, Richmond, Virginia. In the words of Maya Angelou “ History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” What our people need is a deep and through history lesson. This information comes at the high cost of time, energy, and sometimes frustration. Randomly picking up a book is just time consuming because not every author was/is fully knowledgeable about the entire scope of black history ( not to mention bias can compromise the entire gist of the content). So how can Black people search for parts histroy that they don’t know exists without people like Spike Lee providing them with it? Powerful books that encompass more than Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are not available in most public and school libraries, heck most of the time they are not even in University libraries. And there is almost no media attention drawn to these topics. As Maya Angelou stated we need to know our history, because we have been in the stages of regression ( more of our people are in jail than were in slavery). Racism never went away it just changed its form ( this includes the so prison industrial complex). Let’s not forget what Dr. King said to Harry Belafonte “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house.” The house has been burning with us in it and knowledge of a great past presented by powerful Blacks is the only way to open the mind of the masses and cure our current state.

  • Nikke Felix

    We don’t need a film illustrating violence to wake up our people. A movie about Dr. John Henrik Clarke or Marcus Garvey would have been a much better avenue to ignite a spark of curiosity into the minds of our people that would lead mental freedom and reflection . Institutional racism has censored what we are able to see and read. Most of us know nothing of our Black Wall Streets that were located in these three different locations: Parrish Street, Durham, North Carolina; Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Jackson Ward, Richmond, Virginia. In the words of Maya Angelou “ History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” What our people need is a deep and through history lesson. This information comes at the high cost of time, energy, and sometimes frustration. Randomly picking up a book is just time consuming because not every author was/is fully knowledgeable about the entire scope of black history ( not to mention bias can compromise the entire gist of the content). So how can Black people search for parts histroy that they don’t know exists without people like Spike Lee providing them with it? Powerful books that encompass more than Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are not available in most public and school libraries, heck most of the time they are not even in University libraries. And there is almost no media attention drawn to these topics. As Maya Angelou stated we need to know our history, because we have been in the stages of regression ( more of our people are in jail than were in slavery). Racism never went away it just changed its form ( this includes the so prison industrial complex). Let’s not forget what Dr. King said to Harry Belafonte “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house.” The house has been burning with us in it and knowledge of a great past presented by powerful Blacks is the only way to open the mind of the masses and cure our current state.