Check out this timeless clip from Spike Lee’s 1988 film, School Daze.
Watch Now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHYAneAE578
This film was selected by AAFCA member, Lisa Kennedy, as part of the series, Sony Pictures Action Presents: A Roundtable Discussion with the African American Film Critics Association. Learn more here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtS3b7EJCpfU0kXP9FV7uBC8Olsq0cxKk
SCHOOL DAZE REVIEW BY LISA KENNEDY
For his second film, Spike Lee went big – and nostalgic. An alum of Morehouse, the writer-director set his (quasi)musical during Homecoming Weekend at Mission College, a fictional Historically Black University. It’s a busy three days. Activist Dap (Laurence Fishburne) agitates for the school to divest from South Africa. Gamma Phi Gamma honcho Julian (Giancarlo Esposito) puts pledges through hell week. Among the hopefuls: Half Pint, played by Lee. Lee took a much-rewarded chance on Tisha Campbell, casting her as Jane. She’s Julian’s squeeze and the head of the Gamma Rays, a mean-girl contingent that supports the frat. “Westside Story” was an inspiration: Light-skin Wannabees square off with darker hued Jigaboos ala Jets and Sharks in a number called “Straight and Nappy.” There are glimmers of 1976’s “Sparkle.” Sony stepped in and up when initial funding got pulled. It did the right thing. As loving as it is astute, the movie celebrates black college. Even as its depiction of the internecine battles of black folk is prescient. Think Dear White People. Long before “Woke” became a thing, Dap summoned Mission’s student body and administrators — looking like sleepwalkers — to the campus square to “Wake up.”
ABOUT SCHOOL DAZE
Innovative filmmaker, Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It), brings to the screen a music-filled, off-beat contemporary comedy that takes an unforgettable look at black college life. Amidst gala coronations, football, fraternities, parades, and parties, the stars of the film-Laurence Fishburne (“Dap” Dunlap), an intense student who encourages his buddies (“DaFellas”) to fight for his beliefs; Giancarlo Esposito (Julian “Big Brother Almighty” Eaves), out to strengthen the Greek system with his Gamma PhiGamma fraternity brothers; Spike Lee (“Half-Pint”), driven to become a “Gamma man”; and Tisha Campbell (Jane Toussaint), leader of the sorority, “Gamma Rays,” find themselves caught up in romance and relationships/rituals and rivalries during one outrageous homecoming weekend. With dynamic music, including EU’s hit “Da Butt”, and dance numbers choreographed by Otis Sallid (Fame), Lee successfully challenges viewpoints about self-identity and self-esteem in this original, contemporary musical comedy.
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