Spike Lee: Blackness has Many Meanings

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Spike Lee:Blackness has Many Meanings
Presently in America a war is being fought.Forget about guns, planes, and bombs, the weapons from now on will be the newspapers, magazines, TV shows,
radio, and FILM.The right has gotten BOLD, bolstered by their squashing of
Ice-T's COP KILLER, any piece of art that doesn't hold the party line is subject
to attack.It's war on the battle grounds of culture.
The presence, or lack thereof, of a realistic portrayal of African-Americans in American films is a pertinent issue.Hollywood has a tendency to stereotype, or, completely ignore, African-Americans in the feature films it produces.Historical films typically have their African-American presence in the form of an illiterate slave, or inferior character, who is usually brutalized, raped, mistrusted, stupid, violent, or violated in some way. In the blockbuster, Forrest Gump, Forrest's friend, Bubba is "as nearly as much of an idiot as Gump himself"(Pfeil, 258).The film version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic, The Scarlet Letter, infuses an African American slave character into the "loosely adapted" script, and then proceeds to depict her with the negative stereotypical characteristics that we unfortunately see too often.She is mute, helpless at the hands of her masters, and raped.While this may have been the reality for many slaves, the problem lies in the superficiality of the representation of African American characters. Historical and popular film has denied the personal, detailed, and important histories and lives of a whole people. The simplistic, linear representation, of African Americans, which Hollywood utilizes, has consequently projected a false sense of identity onto American culture.In his attempt to counter these false images, director, writer, and producer, Spike Lee, has been successful in drawing huge audiences into theaters with his original style of…