Speaker: Spike Lee talks about TV
By Sheri Sides
acclaimed producer, director, writer and actor Spike Lee took the microphone
before more than 1,700 at UNC Pembroke's Givens Performing
Arts Center February 2 as the last speaker of the season in the
Distinguished Speaker Series. As is his
custom, Lee spoke his mind on everything from the media to race relations.
On the day after
the Super Bowl, Lee opened with a word for Carolina Panther sports fans.
lost the game yesterday. I was rooting for you," Lee said. "Any
team from Boston, I hate." Lee was born in Atlanta and grew up
in Brooklyn, and he is known as a huge New York City sports fan.
From there, Lee
went on to talk about the media's influence on people, both children
leave your kids unattended to watch TV; it's almost a criminal act,"
he said. "And now most adults are more interested in 'Survivor'
and 'American Idol' than what's affecting them directly."
emphasized that music videos especially have been a major influence
among young African Americans, and not for the better.
"When I was
growing up, we looked up to the guy who was smart or the great athlete,"
Lee said. "Today, across America among young African Americans,
if you're smart and speak proper English, you get ridiculed and called
'white boy' or 'white girl' and that's genocide because we're equating
being intelligent with being white and being uneducated with being black."
Lee's most famous
films include "Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X,"
"Got Game" and "Jungle Fever." He recalled his childhood
dream of making movies.
"When I said
I wanted to be a film director, I may as well have said I wanted to
go to the moon," Lee said referring to the small number of black
film directors at the time. "Today, things have changed. There
are more blacks in films but we're still in the ghetto. We have broad
comedies, hip hop or broad comedies."
is a third generation Moorehouse College graduate.
grandmother was a slave," Lee said. "Can you imagine being
a slave and seeing your grandchild graduate from college?"
Lee stressed that
while we live in the greatest country in the world, we still have not
reached our best.
need to think about what they're being fed and start to question,"
Lee said. "We have more to make of this country to make it what
it could be."
Speaker Series for 2003-04 included humorist Dave Barry, Olympic champion
Billy Mills and journalist Soledad O'Brien.
to University Newswire