Spike Lee

Spike Lee

by Kristi Lew
     
 
In his own words, Spike Lee is the man who single-handedly "broke the color barrier" in Hollywood in the mid 1980s. In a film career that spans more than 20 years, Lee has established himself as one of the United States' premier filmmakers, a director whose films explore the many aspects of the African-American experience. Never one to shy away from controversy-he has

Overview

In his own words, Spike Lee is the man who single-handedly "broke the color barrier" in Hollywood in the mid 1980s. In a film career that spans more than 20 years, Lee has established himself as one of the United States' premier filmmakers, a director whose films explore the many aspects of the African-American experience. Never one to shy away from controversy-he has been accused of racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism-Lee uses film to raise tough questions and to provoke discussion. How was he able to break down the doors of Hollywood for himself and for other African-American directors, actors, and technicians? How has he continued to grow and develop as a filmmaker? Spike Lee presents a nuanced portrait of an artist who has become a symbol of contemporary American culture.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Spike Lee's biography is helpful to readers who are interested in understanding the man, his motivations and his family relationships. Abrams explains that major events in his life have centered around his work as a director. His grandmother was especially proud of him and provided both encouragement and financial assistance. He graduated from New York University in 1982. Lee experienced many ups and downs as he pursued a directing career, and money was a constant worry. He wrote, edited, directed and even co-starred in his first feature film, since he had no money to pay another actor. He used his own money to pay for his films and was delighted when his picture won at the Cannes Film Festival. Lee's films reflect his opinion of the black position in America, and he has become known as an advocate for racial justice. however, some critics have said that Lee has discriminated against Jews in his work. He directed ten films in ten years and, he believes that he was a trailblazer who single-handedly "broke the color barrier" in Hollywood in the mid-1980s. Although Lee's personality has changed since he married and became a father, and he is no longer a single, young, angry black male, he has continued to make films. The books in the "Black Americans of Achievement" series will be welcome additions in libraries for young adults. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
VOYA - Tracy Piombo
This series offers newly updated biographies of African American icons. Both Madam C. J. Walker and Spike Lee overcame significant hurdles to succeed in their respective fields, Walker as an entrepreneur and Lee as a film director, and both used their success for the betterment of their communities. Each created an industry specifically for African Americans, and provided them gainful employment opportunities that were not otherwise available. Although Walker's philanthropic efforts are a consistent theme in her biography, Abrams only briefly mentions Lee's philanthropy, focusing more on the social significance of his film work. Potentially controversial topics such as Walker's divorce and accusations of Lee's sexism and anti-Semitism are briefly discussed, but both biographers generally gloss over any intimate personal details in favor of a more thorough treatment of their subjects' working lives. Bundles, Walker's great-great granddaughter, makes her subject come alive by providing a much greater depth of historical background as well as a glimpse into Walker's thinking. In contrast, Abrams's biography of Lee seems bland and impersonal. Libraries should consider biographies of Walker and Lee, but because these Legacy Editions are very close to the originals, the decision to replace older copies is not as obvious. Although Abrams's update includes a thorough discussion of Lee's groundbreaking 2006 documentary of hurricane Katrina, the writing does not flow nearly as well as in the original version by James Earl Hardy. The new covers are more uniform and professional, but in Lee's case less appealing. Libraries serving older teenagers might instead purchase Bundles's adult biography,On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker (Scribner, 2001). Other titles in the series profile President Barack Obama, Alex Haley, George Washington Carver, and many more diverse personalities. Reviewer: Tracy Piombo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604130430
Publisher:
Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Series:
Chelsea House Black Americans of Achievement Series
Pages:
136
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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