Spike Lee

  • Date of Birth: March 20, 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Birth Name: Shelton Jackson Lee
  • Education: Lee has MA in Film and Television, His thesis film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.
  • Profession: Actor, Producer, Screenwriter, Director
  • Bio:  At a very young age, Lee moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from a proud and intelligent background. His father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a school teacher. His mother dubbed him Spike, due to his tough nature. He attended school in Morehouse College in Atlanta and developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University, and graduated with a B.A. in Mass Communication from Morehouse College. He then enrolled in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated in 1982 with a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.

    Spike Lee burst onto the movie scene in 1986, immediately establishing himself as one of the most important young American filmmakers and a controversial figure in black culture.  In 1986, Spike Lee made the film, She's Gotta Have It (1986), a comedy about sexual relationships. The movie was made for 175,000 dollars, and made seven million. Since then, Lee has become a well-known, intelligent, and talented film maker. His next movie was School Daze (1988), which was set in a historically black school and focused mostly on the conflict between the school and the Fraternities, of which he was a strong critic, portraying them as materialistic, irresponsible, and uncaring. With School Daze (1988) in profit, Lee went on to do his landmark film, Do the Right Thing (1989), a movie specifically about his own town in Brooklyn, New York. The movie portrayed a neighborhood (Bed-Stuy, to be exact) on a very hot day, and the racial tensions that emerge. The movie garnered an Oscar nomination, for Danny Aiello, for supporting actor. It also sparked a debate on racial relations and exactly where Lee was taking the film. Lee's films are portraits of people and places.  Lee's movies have examined race relations, the role of media in contemporary life (e.g. Bamboozled), urban crime and poverty, and political issues. Many of his films include a distinctive use of music. Lee's father is a jazz bassist and is responsible for the music in some of his son's films. Lee went on to produce the jazz biopic Mo' Better Blues (1990), which is often considered heavy handed, but still good, and did not seem to be as controversial as his previous efforts, but showed his talent for directing and acting, and was the first of many Spike Lee films to feature Denzel Washington. His next film, Jungle Fever (1991), was about interracial dating.  Lee's next project would prove to be both his most ambitious and most controversial--indeed, the intensity of the controversy that surrounded "Malcolm X" (1992) even before shooting began made the completed film something of an anti-climax. The press gleefully related tales of Lee intimidating non-black director Norman Jewison into relinquishing the project to him. Lee persuasively argued that only a black filmmaker could tell this story, while some black intellectuals, notably poet/activist Amiri Baraka, publicly doubted that he was the man for the job: Alex Haley's "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" was a revered historical document of a hero more important to black culture than any "Spike Lee Joint". Undaunted, Lee took on the monumental project. His next films were the comparatively light, Crooklyn (1994), and the intense crime drama, Clockers (1995).  In 1996, Lee directed two movies: the badly received comedy, Girl 6 (1996), and the politically pointed, Get on the Bus (1996), about a group of men going to the Million Man March. His next film, He Got Game (1998), proved to be another excursion into the collegiate world as he shows the darker side of recruiting college athletes. The movie, in limited release, yet again featured Denzel Washington. It was well received and well liked, if for nothing else than the fine quality of acting and directing the film showed its audience.
    (source: Wikipedia  TCMDB  IMDB )







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