Now You Know Spike Lee Has Something To Say: Calls ‘Djanjo Unchained’ Disrespectful

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December 23, 2012 ‐ By
"Spike pf"

Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

From ESSENCE

Although opening night tickets for Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained, are selling out left and right, there’s one Hollywood filmmaker who doesn’t plan to see the film. In a recent interview with VIBETV, Spike Lee had very little to say about the film, which is a love story based in the days of slavery, and insisted he hadn’t seen it and wasn’t planning on it.

“All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors,” says Lee. “That’s just me…I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.” The Red Hook Summer director is known for his outspoken opinions, and for ruffling a few feathers with his own projects.

Check out the rest, including the interview, over on ESSENCE.

What do you think? Do you plan on seeing it?

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  • TK

    I know I’m late here but lets be real. Nothing about slavery was digestible, no matter how it’s presented. The movie is by a writer/director who is known for making amazing stories that are outside the norm of socially acceptable subjects and behavior so why expect this movie with this subject to be any different? I love Spike but he is a hater. I have seen documentaries on Black history and society that were completely ignorant and void of factual basis but to limit those is only limiting our own. Not all depictions of slavery (or any disgusting part of history or society) can be tasteful. Movies are vehicles for story telling and whether we agree with the portrayal of the story is irrelevant because it is a STORY. As Black woman and a writer, I am personally aware that some issues are difficult to bring to light but that is what story telling should do-shed light in the dark corners of humanity and hopefully bring forth productive conversations.
    If you don’t like the movie-don’t go see it. It’s fiction, not based on factual accounts. If it were then we can have a totally different discussion.
    If you don’t agree with the dipiction then create one that you feel better represents it. Hopefully this paves the way for additional conversation and stories to be told.

  • YoungCosby

    The script was made available a while back for Oscar consideration, so as a filmmaker, he can read the script and get a better sense of the film than most people can get from the film by watching it on screen. But, I think the problem with Spike’s opinion of the film is that he’s not explaining his reasoning for why he feel it’s disrespectful to his ancestors that the film was made. If you’re going to have an outspoken opinion about something, you should be prepared to explain yourself. If you don’t want to see if and don’t want to explain yourself, then don’t vocalize it.

    The only thing that I can see being wrong with the film is that it’s trying to give the Black man a chance to say “here’s your opportunity to defend yourself and your woman’s honor because here’s the only chance you’re going to get do it,” and it took for it to be made by a White man in a cinematic format for it to happen. Whites in cinema will always make movies in the “Sorry for Colonization” genre so there’s nothing we can do about that. The apologies we’re looking for will never come directly to us so we can choose to take it in whatever form it comes in, or not take it at all.

  • Ladybug94

    I don’t know how Spoke can say it’s disrespectful sight unseen.

  • ronilove

    You know when I met Spike at the bank to pay off my mortgage, he told me that as my boss he green-lighted my day off and not to see the following movies: Django and anything by Tyler Perry. Ohhhh, guess what? None of that happened ’cause he ain’t running “nothing”! (but his mouth.) I wasn’t even going to see it, but I am now!!!

  • http://twitter.com/naomi1280 naomi1280

    He hasn’t seen it but. knows it’s disrespectful to his ancestors. Umm, okay

  • Guest360

    I’m going to need Mr. Lee to take several seats. He’s always coming out against someone’s work and hasn’t even seen it. Slavery WAS disrespectful. It’s a shameful part of our history but guess what? It’s apart of our history and it should be talked about. Especially given where we are as a society. We’ve got a black president and a black first family but that didn’t happen over night. It took a lot to get here and for some to want our past to be this dirty little secret that shouldn’t be seen or heard from again just because “we’ve seen this before”, to me, is whats disrespectful. I’m not saying you have to go out and watch the movie but how can you hate or judge something you haven’t even seen? Least of all based on the subject matter? It’s so close minded and sad to me.

  • Kay

    I respect that Spike Lee has an opinion. How to judge something you have not seen is beyond me. Also Spike Lee tends to always have something negative to say about somebody. If you dont like the moves and how black peoiple are portrayed put your money where your mouth is and start making more movies that empower and ecourage our people. Instead he constantly complains and anyone who makes a black movie they are being disrespectful or insensitive.

  • DoYourThing

    This cat right here kills me. Basically if its not a Spike Lee Joint he won’t be throwing his support behind it. If you find repeated use of the N-word, and themes of slavery offensive this is probably not a movie you want to see. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but based on what I hear it can’t be any worse than the stuff that’s on tv right now.

    • bluekissess

      Or music we listen to. The websites people tend to click on World Star anyone

  • Artsitsway1

    I saw this movie and I too found it disrespectful and tastless. They would NEVER make a film like this about the holocaust. I give Quentin props for writing what I think is probably the ONLY film this year/in years, where the BLACK hero gets to reunite with his BLACK love interest at the end of the story. BLACK LOVE is a rarity for mainstream hollywood but anytime we do see it, they are making a mockery of us.

    • Guest360

      Guess you never saw Inglorious Bastards lol

    • Guest360

      Guess you never saw Inglorious Bastards lol

    • Koalah

      Wow thanks for the spoiler alert. Not everyone has seen the film.

      • Artsitsway1

        then you probably shouldn’t be reading comments if you concerned about spoilers

  • Sagittarius81

    My fiance and I saw the film last night, it was good to us. Spike Lee need to go see it himself before passing judgment.

  • Tessie

    I do plan on seeing the film, but I am going to make certain that I do not support “Red Hook Summer” when it comes out. He has problems with anyone, he is not a supporter of anyone!

    • real rap

      i hate to break it to u sistah souljah but red hook summer has come and gone…it made no noise or impact at the box office because very few people saw it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malaika-Angel/100000835938433 Malaika Angel

    Yes, we are planning on seeing it Christmas day.

  • Teefer

    I refuse to judge something before experiencing it. I will go look at it and only then wilI I form an opinion. If I was so close minded about every so called controversial movie that came out I would have missed out on wonderful movies such as Roots and The Color Purple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/divetac Diveta Cranford

    How do you come out of your mouth and say its disrespectful and you haven’t even seen it? I agree with young black sister because slavery wasn’t sweet…slavery was/is disrespectful so I really don’t understand how Mr.Tarantino is being charged with being disrespectful. Should we feel the same about Alex Haley’s “Roots”? Come on people let’s be a little more open minded and as for you Mr. Lee at least give the film the benefit of seeing it first before you open your mouth to tear it down…you of all people should really know better.

    • BEAUTY85

      The fact that directors are still making movies like that is disrespectful, is as if he’s saying this is the only thing black Americans are known for! If black people keep supporting movies like this, then this is all they will ever be! If anyone is actually going to see this, it says a lot about the state of mind black people are in!!!!!!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malaika-Angel/100000835938433 Malaika Angel

        The same can be said for some of the TV shows we support. When Schindler’s List came out or any documentary comes out chronicling the Holocaust, I don’t recall hearing anyone complaining about it being disrespectful. In fact, they have a museum in L.A. as a remembrance of their history. Why should we shy away from movies chronicling slavery?

        I know we are all entitled to our opinions, but I’m just asking for the sake of conversation.

        • bluekissess

          A lot of people in here are embracing the white mentality of “letting the past be the past” I still feel bitter and I will keep feeling bitter I want it to be known that my ancestors help create “America”

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002932566023 Kristene Crawley

            That’s true but it didn’t end there. So have we. There are many Black people who have done and are doing great things. That’s the present, the here and now . There were many who marched with our parents and grandparents and suffered as they did during the Civil Rights Movement in this country. The same racist mentality would have you forget that. What is Our contribution in continuing to move forward and not constantly backwards. It’s not in that sickening “gangsta rap” and other such garbage.

          • Kay

            How is forgiveness and not being full of hate and bitterness about something you weren’t even alive to experice a white mentality? Or being a “house n*gga*?. You mad like you were there, like they was whipping your a$$ or something.

            • bluekissess

              Your answer is the prime example as to why black people probably won’t get ahead. So if it wasn’t done to you it shouldn’t count? That’s hilarious. I’m not going to even example why your answer was ignorant. The Willie Lynch theory is alive and well. Based on your answer you probably haven’t read that speech. It would give you insight on how you see yourself and how black men see themselves. It’s 2012 and it feels like I’m still getting whipped getting pulled over by the cops, being watched in the store, not allowed to be expressive without being called the angry black women. Can’t get a job because I’m not bilingual, can’t get a loan from the bank because we can’t be trusted that it would get paid back., young black men getting out of jail and can’t get the job they want because of the record they had. So yes I still am getting beat. Yes I was there because my ancestors blood still runs through my veins. And who puts dollar signs as an S? I’m curious as to how you grew up. If it’s not you then you shouldn’t worry about it? Lol get real
              I’m done talking with fools. Agree to disagree

              • Love_Sexy

                Preach!

              • Kay

                Lol 1) young black men should have thought about the fact that they couldn’t get a job before they committed the crime. And 2) you and I both know if I had use a regular s it would have caused the Mn moderators to block my comment so shut that up real quick. And I’m gonna leave it at that cause your one o those black people that will never be satisfied, even If white people were being over backwards doing back flips for you, you would still bring up slavery and Jim crow. Oh and I have read wille lynch theory…smh

            • Gye Nyame

              You are so ignorant…what a shame.

          • Love_Sexy

            I feel the same way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002932566023 Kristene Crawley

        Movies of the slavery of my ancestors either make me angry or depressed, as much as the ongoing disrespect toward each other so I don’t support it and certainly not as entertainment or to knowingly keep a racist in funds.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002932566023 Kristene Crawley

        Movies of the slavery of my ancestors either make me angry or depressed, as much as the ongoing disrespect toward each other so I don’t support it and certainly not as entertainment or to knowingly keep a racist in funds.

        • bluekissess

          What are we doing? We’re on the internet bickering about what black story should and shouldn’t be told? Seriously? In order to change and rise up we have to be on the same page. A lot of these comments would come from the “house ni gg as point of view. It’s a shame that we get a chapter in a history book full of pictures. We get a paragraph or two how slavery was. Let’s start there. These same stories are being told to every black child who can sit in a public school. Next we should stop being shameful and embarrassed about our history and our story rather it be good or bad or leave you feeling “depressed” look at black people now. Killing and shooting over a pair of Jordan’s black’s are so shameful that they will rather wear someone else’s name. Really? Black’s are so ashamed that they won’t tell their children where their father’s or mother’s are. Grandma pretending to be mom. Be who you are and tell your story. We don’t know were we’re headed if we don’t know where we’ve been. It doesn’t start with slavery it starts with Africa

    • Artsitsway1

      This film uses the hollywood formula of the American “Western” genre. And in american westerns there is usually a ‘damsel in distress’ that the hero encounters and in commissioned to save. The damsel is portrayed as a “pure innocent and helpless soul’ that must be saved by the hero. With this film of course, slavery is the back drop and the damsel is a black woman. If you examine the way white women are seen in these types of films you will NEVER see them full frontal naked. That is just one instance where I found it disrespectful. Why I personally felt uncomfortable watching this film is BECAUSE slavery is simply that-a backdrop. I felt that in the way he told this story along with the comedic overtones, it made it as if slavery was not that bad. That it was something to be laughed at or about. And it further gives permission to others to downplay the black experience in America. Please don’t compare this film to ROOTS. Alex Haley wrote that piece with a sense of homage and reverence that is nowhere to be found in this film. If you were a mother and lost your child and someone came and made a film about an experience such as that but made it into a comedy, you might not find it so amusing. All i’m saying is that’s how it FELT for me watching this film.

      • http://www.facebook.com/divetac Diveta Cranford

        You are entitled to your opinion….I can respect it however I have not seen it yet but will pay to go see it. And why not compare it to “Roots”? Its a slavery movie as well although it was told from a black mans perspective so is that the defining difference for you? It has more credibility because a black man wrote it? Its hollywood and its entertainment. I don’t believe “Django Unchained” was meant to tell the historical significance of slavery…its ENTERTAINMENT! I’m certainly not going to see it to learn anything from it…..

        • Artsitsway1

          OMG, It would take far to much to break this down for you. But, I will say this: Racism still exist in this industry and the way African Americans are portrayed has not evolved very much. African Americans, Latinos AND women spend the most money at the box office. Yet, ‘our stories’ are not told or depicted in American cinema at the same rate nor with much accuracy. If you understood the psychology behind the media and how it influences the brain, maybe you’d understand why its important to have black people tell their own stories. Why its important for women to have a voice in this society and why it matters that there is historical accuracy in the telling of any tale. Blacks and Lations are largely ignored and under represented in the industry. White males still control the industry and have no interest in “diversifying”. For every Shonda Rhimes, there is 250 J.J. Abrams, so don’t get it twisted thinking things have changed very much. What is sad is that black folks are so used to seeing themselves as caricatures they don’t know any better and aren’t aware enough to understand that it is more than “entertainment”. Go see the film, no one said not to. But the issue is that black people deserve to see themselves in a dignified light that depicts the range of the American experience. We deserve to be able to make a living and see ourselves in our fullness like any other race. Why should black directors, actors, writers, etc have to still work harder than white counterparts and only be seen as some updated form of age old stereotypes? I’ll tell you why they don’t! Cause black folks still support films and tv shows that show them in inaccurate and limited ways. The industry will have no reason to change if black folks keep supporting the status quo. Women will continue to be portrayed as sexual objects if we continue to support the status quo. I liken the situation to those who wanted to boycott the buses and those who didn’t. They didn’t want to risk loosing their jobs or the discomfort of having to walk to work everday. But had they not chosen to do something different, they’d likely still be riding at the back of the bus. You obviously are more comfortable on the back of the bus. And that’s where you should stay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Farrah-Marriott/100000059893151 Farrah Marriott

    Spike Lee has never been supportive of Tarantino’s work. I believe it’s mostly because Tarantino throws the “N”-word around as much as humanly possible (but that’s another post). I do plan on seeing this movie, but I believe Lee has a point here.

  • BEAUTY85

    WAKE UP DON’T WE HAVE MORE TO US THAN JUST OUR BLACK AMERICAN HISTORY, WE’VE SEEN THIS TYPE OF MOVIE SO MANY TIMES! What about the Ancient Egyptians, The Kushites, or the AShanti Tribe, etc. It’s disrespectful to black people who know we are so much more than just slavery, see the problem is that some black people just don’t have a clue about their history and will just settle for any ole’ thing. Point being WE ARE SO MUCH MORE! So I have to agree with spike lee!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malaika-Angel/100000835938433 Malaika Angel

      Hi Beauty, I’m one of those black people who love the history of our people. We are the original people of the earth, and I love it. We have such a rich history that many have yet to learn, especially us (which is very sad), but I guess I don’t see movies chronicling slavery as all that’s out there. In my previous comment to you, I’m more concerned about the feast of reality shows we watch more so than this movie. We are inundated with foolishness on the TV screen (thanks to VH1) and many of us can’t wait for the next ratchetfest to appear. That concerns me more than this movie.

      • beauty85

        That’s all that has been out there when it comes to our history, when white do movies based on their history they dig deep and do movies based on their European ancestry,,!!

    • Zenaida Nunnery

      Point is we don’t need another black history movie …its an action movie not all the time we want to see movie about how we were treated and if there were movies about Egyptian and kushites shoot Roots wasn’t even accurate you want a movie like that it’ll be some years before we 1like that’s completely accurate….Spike Lee us oozing with haterism every movie that comes out with a depiction of an AA he says its disrespectful or coonery and bafoonery shucking and jiving….get over it he not good cuz that Malcom X wasn’t an accurate Depiction only reason why it was good movie

      • Artsitsway1

        I have to agree with Spike on this one. I saw the movie and thought it was disrespectful. When was the last film you saw about the Holocaust that had comedic overtones? Jewish people would never stand for any disrespecting their history or ancesters like that. Yet black folks will line up and beg hollywood to take our money and laugh in our faces. ijs

        • pfeiffer87

          Life is Beautiful – but then some of my Jewish friends thought that was disrespectful too. I guess it’s each to their own, some will like it and some won’t, same with any portrayal/discussion of/about sensitive and painful topics.

        • bluekissess

          Don’t be black power one minute and watch bafoonary on VH1 the next. I can’t stand people like that. People dislike the movie but say the N-Word in the same sentence. Smh

          • artistsway1

            What are you responding to? smh

        • Laine

          A Holocaust/ WW2 movie with comedic overtones? Inglorious bastards…?! Also made by Quentin Tarantino?

          • Artsitsway1

            Thanks for the history lesson on Tarantion. Hope you know black history as well.

        • Laine

          A Holocaust/ WW2 movie with comedic overtones..?? Inglorious b@stards..?? Also made by Quentin Tarantino…??

      • Artsitsway1

        I have to agree with Spike on this one. I saw the movie and thought it was disrespectful. When was the last film you saw about the Holocaust that had comedic overtones? Jewish people would never stand for any disrespecting their history or ancesters like that. Yet black folks will line up and beg hollywood to take our money and laugh in our faces. ijs

  • ncntrol

    I wont be watching it either, it minimizes and belittles the struggles of slavery, an fictional account of something that would have never happens

  • Just saying!!

    Never thought I’d say this but Mr. Lee…shut the heck up and have several seats!! He’s jealous because he didn make the film! And I’m not someone who is quick to use “hater” or “jealous” on anyone but hes just wreaking of it smdh.

    • Artsitsway1

      When you see this film you’ll understand why he is saying what he is saying.

    • Artsitsway1

      When you see this film you’ll understand why he is saying what he is saying.

  • Young black sister

    Spike lee seems to not support any work besides his own. I like his work but goodness be open minded. Films on black history have never been sweet. Our history is not sweet. So I’ll support a black hero. I’ll support these black actors! If they feel strongly about it and they have yet to
    Give me a reason to give the side eye then why not support our brothers and sisters.

  • bluekissess

    I can’t form an opinion about something I haven’t seen. Yes, I will watch for the acting. It’s funny how black’s won’t support this movie but are quick to go to a Madea play or watch a movie. Get Real

  • IllyPhilly

    It seems a little over the top, but I still have mixed feelings about it.

    • JaneDoe

      I agree with you. .I don’t care if it has two of my fave actors in it.. I won’t be supporting it

      • Just saying!!

        Who cares. Plenty of other people will!! :)

        • JaneDoe

          My opinion… I am entitled to one

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