Tag: spike lee
#EndorseThis: Watch Spike Lee's Stunning Tribute To George Floyd

#EndorseThis: Watch Spike Lee's Stunning Tribute To George Floyd

Believe it or not, Spike Lee is 63 years old -- but his voice is vital as ever. He is releasing a new feature (Da 5 Bloods) and last week delivered a compelling film tribute to George Floyd titled 3 Brothers. Every adult American should try to watch it, especially anyone who might not grasp the urgency of radical police reform.

Jimmy Fallon watched 3 Brothers debut on CNN and realized that his own audience ought to see it. He brought the great director on The Tonight Show to introduce and provide insightful commentary, which he does in trademark style.

Please be warned: This film includes graphic violence. It induces feelings of grief, rage, and perhaps shame. But that's the point.

View and share at your discretion.

Bern-Storming Through The South Bronx

Bern-Storming Through The South Bronx

Bernie Sanders addressed thousands of supporters assembled in the South Bronx last night in the lead up to New York’s presidential primaries, on April 19. He repeated his vision of economic, criminal and social justice reform to the massive crowd assembled in St. Mary’s Park.

Sanders promised that a victory in state’s upcoming primaries would propel him to the Democratic nomination and eventually to the White House itself. “If there is a large voter turnout, we will win,” he said to the diverse crowd of 15,000. “And if we win here in New York, we are going to make it to the White House.”

The excited crowd repeatedly broke into chants of “Bernie,” from the moment Vermont’s junior senator stepped on stage until his exit. He repeated his call for creating a political revolution, taking on special interests and creating a host of publicly-funded social services like universal healthcare and tuition-free public education.

“You are the heart and soul of this revolution,” he said. “We want a government that represents all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors.”

Sanders delivered his strongest points towards the end of his speech, when he critiqued “establishment politics and establishment economics,” for advancing wealth inequality, childhood poverty, low wages and the gender pay gap.

The rally also focused on cementing Sanders’s association with New York City, especially its minority communities. Rosario Dawson, a famous daughter of the city who grew up in the Lower East Side, took to the stage prior to Sanders’s speech, in part to criticize the Clinton camp for trying to convince voters to support her for the sake of defeating Donald Trump.

“No, we’re not in the general election. We’re in the primary and everyone should have their say,” she said. Director Spike Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn, simply proclaimed, “Bernie has to win New York City.”

The stakes are high for Sanders and Clinton in New York, given their connections to the state. Despite residing in Vermont for decades, Sanders identifies strongly with his Brooklyn roots; his unmistakable accent doesn’t belong to the Green Mountain State. And Clinton served New York in the U.S. Senate for eight years before becoming Secretary of State during President Obama’s first term.

“I think he spoke about the issues, especially in the climate sense, because the Bronx has really bad air pollution,” said Angello Maggio, a Yonkers resident who works in the city and is volunteering for the campaign. “Everyone knows that except the media, because no one talks about it. It’s one of the most polluted areas in the country and he really hit that spot really hard. No other candidate came to the South Bronx. Most candidates would have gone to Manhattan or Brooklyn.”

Other attendees, undeterred by arguments of political unfeasibility, were attracted to the common sense message and tone of Sanders’s policies. Sanders promised a federal minimum wage of $15 if he became president in November and cited the recent victories of the $15 minimum wage movement in Seattle, New York City and, most recently, the entire state of California as proof that such a plan was politically feasible.

“I just feel that his ideas are very practical and they’re very much what a normal person would be thinking,” said Mena McCarthy, a college student living in Queens. “He’s really trying to appeal to the masses of people, but in a good way. Not through hatred, but through love and equality.”

“Our current system is not sustainable. Our healthcare costs are soaring. The ACA covered a lot of people but I think people are getting really frustrated with rising deductibles and copayments,” said Hannah Moreira, a medical and public health student studying in the Bronx who has fought for a single payer health plan for five years. “There’s going to be a huge pushback from special interests, but I think it is feasible.”

Despite Clinton’s strong roots across the state, Sanders and his policies have the opportunity to perform well outside of New York City, too. The demographics of upstate New York resemble those of other Midwestern states where Sanders has performed well. And his brand of progressive populism has already been well-received in those parts of the state.

In 2014, Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor with very little money and no name recognition, ran a surprisingly strong challenge to Andrew Cuomo’s bid for the Democratic nomination during the state’s gubernatorial race, on a platform calling for political reform and limits on campaign contributions. She is now running for a congressional seat in New York’s 19th congressional district, which includes counties she handily won during her 2014 challenge to Cuomo. Her campaign’s insurgent strength could provide a roadmap for Sanders.

Most polling has shown Clinton leading by double digits over Sanders in New York; in one Quinnipiac poll of the state taken over the past week, her lead was reduced to 12 points. There are 291 delegates up for grabs in the state, making the New York primary the greatest electoral prize of the Democratic race so far. Only California exceeds New York in delegate count.

Spike Lee On Hollywood Diversity: ‘We Don’t Have A Vote. We’re Not In The Room.’

Spike Lee On Hollywood Diversity: ‘We Don’t Have A Vote. We’re Not In The Room.’

By Tre’vell Anderson, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Famed director Spike Lee is not one to mince words, whether in his films — which range from the Oscar-nominated She’s Gotta Have It to his latest, which opens in theaters Dec. 4, Chi-Raq — or in calls for diversity in Hollywood. The trailblazer received an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards on Saturday night, and in his acceptance speech, Lee as he describes it “let them have it,” once again.

“I just felt that that was a perfect platform,” Lee said in an interview this week with The Times about his 17-minute speech. “Look at the audience. The studio heads are right there; I’m speaking directly to them.”

Lee made appeals to a crowd at the Dolby Theater of Hollywood heavyweights, with his former and current leading men — Samuel Jackson, Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington, who presented the award to him — at his side. The dynamic trio recognized Lee, in part, for helping to increase the number of black and brown faces in the industry, both with his aspirational rise to fame and his efforts to have people of color leading his films, in front of and behind the camera.

“Spike Lee has put more African-Americans to work in this business than anyone else in this business,” Washington said.

Days later, Lee responded to Washington’s claims: “I know it, and a lot of other people don’t know it. But it’s great when I don’t have to say it and someone else says it,” he said, letting out a roaring laugh.

As Hollywood begins to take heed of Lee’s words, the Atlanta-born, Brooklyn-raised icon remains committed to the cause after more than 30 years of filmmaking.

“I get tired of (the conversation about diversity), but it’s necessary,” he said, adding he will remain committed until the industry reflects the broader world.

Though more people are now speaking up and out about the dearth of roles and opportunities in Hollywood for people of color and women, the industry has yet to arrive at a point when diversity no longer is just a buzzword. How will we know when it’s arrived? Lee cites a song from the well-reviewed Broadway production “Hamilton,” titled “The Room Where It Happens.”

“I know that we’ll have begun to arrive when we get one person who has a greenlight vote,” he said. “We’re not in the room at these greenlight sessions that decide what will make it and what ain’t making it. We don’t have a vote. We’re not in the conversation. We’re not in the room.”

Vanessa Morrison, head of animation at Fox, is the rare African-American in the studio system who has a greenlight vote, Lee said. That’s why he said during his acceptance speech that “it’s easier to be the president of the United States as a black person than to be the head of a studio.”

“That’s mind-boggling,” he said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

©2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Photo: Thomas Rome via Flickr