by Thelma Sardin
Legendary filmmaker, Spike Lee was the featured speaker at The Faith Community of St. Sabina Church on Friday night for the church’s 2011 African American Speakers Series. Lee, a Brooklyn native spoke for one hour and gave the audience a glimpse into his thoughts on several issues.
A graduate of Morehouse College, Lee said that education has always been a vehicle in the progression of African Americans.
He also questioned the reason why Black children are prohibiting themselves from receiving a quality education so that they can remain “cool” to their peers. “How is it that our ancestors risked their lives to teach and we are in a period where young Black kids fail on purpose because they don’t want to be a sell out?,” Lee asked.
In order to curb violence that has plagued Chicago in recent years, Lee said that young Black males should be given options, rather they be educational, vocational or cultural to develop their potential.
Lee noted that his mother exposed him and his siblings to cultural activities such as plays and films. “She didn’t know I was going to be famous,” he said. The filmmaker continued by saying, “We have to expose our children to as many things as possible.”
He also asked what it would take for the African American community to take ownership of its problems and end senseless killings. “What’s it gonna take for us to get mad and organize? These young brothers are killing each other left and right,” Lee said.
Lee admitted he was not a good student growing up despite the fact he comes from a family of educators.
He confessed that he was expected to attend Morehouse because his father and grandfather were alumni of the institution.
An instructor at Morehouse introduced Lee to film and he cites the teacher played a very important role in his creative development.
Often asked how he got into movies, Lee says film discovered him.
“I’m blessed because I am doing what I love,” he said adding that he was grateful to have a family that supported his film-making career. The director also noted that today’s generation want to receive things instantaneously and do not understand the struggle behind earning something. “Whatever you want you have to kill yourself to make it happen,” he said.