I LIKE SPIKE: A SPIKE LEE INTERVIEW (part 2)

I’ve read a few reviews of Bamboozled that have criticized the shot-on-digital film look – I think it adds to the film’s realism, was that your intention? ^ We thought that too. Plus, we didn’t have the money to shoot 35mm.
Could you imagine the very same film, same script, same actors shot in glorious 35mm, looking pretty? Wouldn’t it have diluted the message? ^ It (the digital image) made it a lot harsher, that’s for sure. (LAUGHS) I think that’s right, it would have softened the message and taken some of its power away.
With regard to Black culture, I want to applaud you for the following quote you said on television, “Appreciation, not appropriation.” I personally find it irritating to see white kids going around trying to be Black. ^ I’d like to say this: It’s a thin line, because I think culture is there for everyone to enjoy, (and) to embrace. But this is just me thinking, if young white kids want to embrace black culture, I don’t think the best thing to take from us is walking around with your pants down below your ass and calling each other nigger. We got better things that they can embrace.
Right. I think it would be as ridiculous as if young African American kids were dressing in green and speaking with Irish accents. ^ (BIG LAUGH!) This whole country is in an identity crisis. That’s what it is.
Which isn’t so bad, because those questions need to be asked. Debra Wilson, from MAD TV, calls the kinds of stereotyped characters seen so often on TV “blackity-black-black.” How do you change that? ^ (LAUGHS) You change it by getting into those positions of the gatekeepers, the people who decide this show’s getting made and this show’s not getting made. The decision-making positions.
You know you mentioned that Bamboozled almost didn’t get made. Is it that difficult to get financing? Does it come down to the gatekeepers with the money that decide what gets made, what gets put on prime time TV? ^ That’s what it comes down to, and we’re not in those positions. Of all the Wesley Snipes and the Denzel’s and the Will Smith’s and Chris Tucker’s and Martin Lawrence and everybody, those are just actors. We’re not in those positions at the studio’s that say “Alright I’m making this.”
There’s the perception that you “hate white people.” I’ve been following your career from the beginning, I’ve seen your films, I don’t get that. Why do you think that there’s this misunderstanding? ^ The easiest way to dismiss my work, especially work that deals with racism, is to call me a racist. Therefore, my work has no merit, because how can he be talking about racism when he’s a racist himself? You know the old trick. But I think people are really smart, they’re not going for that shit.
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Posted on October 14, 2000 in Interviews by
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