Jan 16, 2013

Man, I didn’t realize this week was ‘Pile on Spike Lee Week’.  Everybody and their mamas seem to be coming out with criticism aimed at the illustrious director for his pointed criticism of Django Unchained.
One of the most noted critics of the director was legendary activist, Dick Gregory.  Gregory certainly didn’t minced words when it came to expressing his displeasure with Lee.  At one point even referring to Lee as a ‘thug’ when it came to his criticism of the Quentin Tarantino flick. But with all that being said, his attacks on Lee doesn’t come close to the level of vitriol that was spewed by Luther ‘Uncle Luke’ Campbell in a Miami New Times op-ed piece.
Campbell opens his op-ed by saying, ‘Screw Spike Lee.  Quentin Tarantino’s Django is a brilliant flick that more accurately depicts the African American experience than any of the 15 movies about Black culture Lee’s directed in his lifetime.”
Now I don’t know about you, but where I’m from “those be fightin’ words.”
Campbell definitely doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to chin checking Lee.  Based on some of the stuff he wrote it would appear that his issues with Spike Lee go much deeper than Lee’s criticism of this particular film.
Take for instance this part in the piece where Campbell writes that Lee is “Hollywood’s resident house negro; a bougie activist who wants to tell his fellow white auteurs how they can and can’t depict African Americans.”  Hmmm…sounds like he has some other grievances with Lee and Django was just his chance to air them out.
And if you needed further proof that this thing is personal for Campbell then just look at how he closes out his piece by calling Lee an ‘Uncle Tom’ and likening him to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the movie.
Now don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Django Unchained.  But what I find interesting is all this defense being offered for Quentin Tarantino.  Where were these same people when Spike Lee was going after Tyler Perry?  I’m not comparing Quentin Tarantino to Tyler Perry, nor am I’m saying that what Lee said about Perry was wrong.  I’m simply trying to figure out why people weren’t writing op-ed’s for Tyler Perry in mainstream newspapers declaring how Spike Lee’s criticism of him was wrong.
I may be reaching, but I find the entire thing to be interesting.


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