Thursday, 8 April 2010
SPIKE LEE: TELLING STORIES WITH MUSIC AND PICTURES.
I was very young when I saw his critically acclaimed movie ''Do The Right Thing'' when the world was still into video cassettes and VHS players. Ours was a Toshiba brand and we'd joined a video club in the neighbourhood where we borrowed videos for a specific amount of money. Though ''Do The Right Thing'' portrayed black consciousness and racial violence in inner American cities, Rosie Perez's dance at the beginning of the movie says a lot about Spike Lee's soft spot for music. Born on the 20th of March 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia, Spike had music running in his veins from day one. His father, Bill Lee, was a jazz musician.
Spike Lee has worked with top-notch musicians over the years in his movie directing schedule. The confrontational rap music of Public Enemy was judiciously used in ''Do The Right Thing'' with the hip-hop jazz influences of Gangstarr being featured in ''Mo Betta Blues'' [ This film itself is based on the jazz world ]. The contributions of Terrence Blanchard, a jazz artiste, to Spike Lee's productions is worthy of mention. The trumpet player has his sounds in the background of most of the African-American director's movies. In ''25th Hour'', Blanchard was the film's composer. Another innovative move by Spike Lee was to use Bruce Springsteen's song ''The Fuse'' as the accompanying song to Blanchard's Score on the movie. Movie reviewers found this a bit odd because the soundtracks of Spike's previous productions had largely favoured the sounds of urban America i.e funk, soul, jazz and Hip-Hop.
Spike Lee, whose real name is Shelton Jackson Lee, shot Michael Jackson's videos for '' They Don't Really Care About Us '' [ The video has two versions and they were shot separately in Rio de Janeiro & Bahia in Brazil and New York, USA. ] He also produced Jackson's video ''This Is It'' after the famous singer's death. He has also directed music videos for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Miles Davies and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince [ T.A.F.K.A.P ]. Spike Lee, who's an alumnus of Morehouse College has furthered the careers of black actors including Denzel Washington, Samuel L.Jackson and Lawrence Fishburne. He's succeeded in pushing them into the mainstream of Hollywood acting. In ''Do The Right Thing'', the music imagery was very clear. Radio Raheem signified the Rap culture of the hood with his boom box, while the DJ/Continuity Announcer was like a businessmen selling American music to the world. RV is proud to be associated with Spike Lee. He's a man who has inspired youths all over the world with his films and has helped nurture the growth of Hip-Hop music in a creative way.
Sources: msn.com, feministmusicgeek.com, RV.