Spike Lee Urges SU Students to Pursue Dreams PDF Print E-mail
By Amber Perry -- Black College Wire   

The second installment of the Chancellor Lecture Series hosted famed writer, director, actor and producer Spike Lee at Southern University's F. G. Clark Activity Center Friiday night, Jan. 30.

Fresh from the Sundance Film Festival with rave reviews from his latest project, “Passing Strange,” a musical about a black musician who leaves his middle-class home in Los Angeles in search of “the real,” Lee said he was pleased with the result of his first trip to Sundance.

Norman J. Dotson/Southern Digest
Chancellor Kofi Lomotey and his wife, Nahuja, with Spike Lee
“We got a very warm reception, which was great. Now we’re looking for a distributor for the film.”

Lee’s next project, in conjunction with ESPN Films will premiere May 14. It is a documentary on Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant.

When Lee took the stage, he went right to the theme of his speech: not letting anyone deter students from their dreams.

“A majority of the people on this earth go to their graves slaving away at a job they hate,” he started. “When I first started at Morehouse, I was making all Cs. Then the summer between my sophomore and junior year someone gave me a camera and I filmed everything in Brooklyn.”

Lee went on to say he changed his major to mass communications and began taking film classes at Clark University—now Clark Atlanta University.

Lee went on to film school at New York University and with the help of his grandmother, began his professional film career.

“We were so broke in the beginning that we had to recycle cola bottles from the set. We used to get five cents for every bottle and from that we were able to get four more rolls of film.”

Ending his speech with a standing ovation, Lee took questions from the crowd, which included what is next for the black community.

“Now that we have Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia in the White House," Lee said, "we can look up to more than rappers, gangsters or athletes.”

Before Lee took the stage, various groups on campus treated the audience to artistic expressions.

One of Lee’s most famous scenes from his 1988 musical/drama “School Daze” was recreated by the Southern University Gold ‘N’ Bluez Dancers. Under the direction of Jonas Vanderbilt, assistant program adviser, the Gold ‘N’ Bluez became Jigaboos and Wannabees in “Straight and Nappy.”

“I think it’s always good to showcase the talent here at Southern University,” said Vanderbilt. “Despite us not having a dance program, everyone involved is quite talented. It was really good to be on stage. I hardly get a chance to perform and it was good to do it in front of Spike Lee.”

Amber Perry writes for TheSouthern Digest, the Southern University student newspaper, which originally published a version of this article.

Posted Feb. 04, 2009
< Prev   Next >