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Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader

Hamlet, Janice D. / Coleman, Robin R. Means (eds.)

Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader

Foreword by Spike Lee

Year of Publication: 2009

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XXXII, 417 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0236-3 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.600 kg, 1.323 lbs

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Book synopsis

Shelton Jackson «Spike» Lee is one of the most culturally influential and provocative film directors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Bringing together seminal writings – from classic scholarship to new research – this book focuses on this revolutionary film auteur and cultural provocateur to explore contemporary questions around issues of race, politics, sexuality, gender roles, filmmaking, commercialism, celebrity, and the role of media in public discourse.
Situating Lee as an important contributor to a variety of American discourses, the book highlights his commitment to exploring issues of relevance to the Black community. His work demands that his audiences take inventory of his and their understandings of the complexities of race relations, the often deleterious influence of media messages, the long term legacy of racism, the liberating effects of sexual freedom, the controversies that arise from colorism, the separatist nature of classism, and the cultural contributions and triumphs of historical figures.
This book seeks to stimulate continued debate by examining the complexities in Lee’s various sociopolitical claims and their ideological impacts.


Contents: Spike Lee: Foreword – Audrey Thomas McCluskey: Preface – Robin R. Means Coleman/Janice D. Hamlet: Introduction – Ronald Jemal Stephens: The Aesthetics of Nommo in the Films of Spike Lee – William A. Harris: Cultural Engineering and the Films of Spike Lee – R. Colin Tait: Politics, Class and Allegory in Spike Lee’s Inside Man – Rachael Ziady DeLue: Envisioning Race in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled – Tracey Owens Patton/Deborah McGriff: Ya Been Took, Ya Been Hoodwinked, Ya Been Bamboozled: Mau Maus, Diaspora, and the Mediated Misrepresentation of Blacks – Norman K. Denzin: Spike’s Place – Kerr Houston: Athletic Iconography in Spike Lee’s Early Feature Films – Mikal J. Gaines: Spike’s Blues: Re-imagining Blues Ideology for the Cinema – Paula Massood: Which Way to the Promised Land? Spike Lee’s Clockers and the Legacy of the African American City – Kara Keeling: Passing for Human: Bamboozled and Digital Humanism – Phil Chidester/Jamel Santa Cruze Bell: «Say the Right Thing»: Spike Lee, Bamboozled, and the Future of Satire in a Postmodern World – Ellen C. Scott: Sounding Black: Cultural Identification, Sound, and the Films of Spike Lee – Jasmine Nichole Cobb/John L. Jackson: They Hate Me: Spike Lee, Documentary Filmmaking, and Hollywood’s «Savage Slot» – Mark Lawrence McPhail: Race and Sex in Black and White: Essence and Ideology in the Spike Lee Discourse – Sharon Elise/Adewole Umoja: Spike Lee Constructs the New Black Man: Mo’ Better – Heather E. Harris/Kimberly R. Moffitt: A Critical Exploration of African American Women Through the «Spiked Lens» – Maurice E. Stevens: Subject to Countermemory: Disavowal and Black Manhood in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X – Andrew deWaard: Joints and Jams: Spike Lee as Sellebrity Auteur – Mark P. Orbe/A. Elizabeth Lyons: Father, Husband, and Social/Cultural Critic: An Afrosemiotic Analysis of Children’s Books by Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee – Yanick Rice Lamb: Spike Lee as Entrepreneur: Leveraging 40 Acres and a Mule – Filmography: Spike Lee: Cultural Provocateur.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Editors: Janice D. Hamlet is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University. Her current research focuses on African American rhetoric with an emphasis on womanist theology, ethnographic studies, rhetoric and spirituality, and intercultural communication. She is editor of Afrocentric Visions: Studies in Culture and Communication and has published in various journals including The Journal of Black Studies.
Robin R. Means Coleman is Associate Professor at the University of Michigan where she holds joint appointments in the Department of Communication studies and the Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies. Her research focuses on the cultural impact of media and popular culture upon diverse communities. She is author of African American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situation Humor and editor of Say It Loud! African American Audiences, Media, and Identity.


«This book is a solid contribution to the body of work about African Americans and popular culture, with a rich mine of information for scholars of mass media and of intergroup relations.» (Jannette L. Dates, Howard University)
«This volume presents an intelligent, rigorous, and comprehensive collection of scholarship that examines Spike Lee’s work. It leaves little untouched. Sexuality, colorism, film music scores, art and set design, the intersection of his personal life with his professional craft, and even a Foreword from Lee himself; it is all here. All of this scholarship carefully deconstructs one of the nation’s most provocative cultural contributors. Do the right thing and read this book.» (JoEllen Fisherkeller, New York University)