The premiere of Spike Lee’s latest film, ‘Red Hook Summer’ was met with mixed (and in some cases scathing) reviews from audiences at the Sundance Film Festival, prompting Lee to burst into a tirade, according to reports.
Lee did not introduce ‘Red Hook Summer’ but instead, he took to the microphone after the film had finished and told the captive crowd in no uncertain terms that the film “is not a mother f**king sequel to Do the Right Thing.” He made the comment in reference to the fact that the film is shot in the same neighborhood to its predecessor.
When the comedian Chris Rock (a friend of Lee’s) stood up and asked the director about the fact that he had financed the movie with his own cash and asked “What would you have done differently if you’d actually gotten a bunch of studio money? What else would have happened? Would you have blown up some sh*t?” Spike explained that he avoided approaching film studios for money, for a reason – that reason being that the film industry simply does not understand African-American culture: “I didn’t want to hear no motherf**king notes from the studio telling me about what a young 13-year-old boy and girl would do in Red Hook. F*ck no. They know nothing about black people. Nothing!”
Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican tweeted, “Okay, so Red Hook Summer ISN’T a coming-of-age movie. It’s a what-the-hell?!? movie.” The arts and entertainment writer for the Los Angeles Times, Steven Zeitchik wrote, “Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer is his most interesting/ambitious film in yrs, tho the last section will be polarizing.”
Afterwards, Lee apologized for his outbursts saying, “Sorry for that motherf**king tirade.”
Spike Lee is not the only film director to have spoken out about Hollywood’s lack of understanding of black culture. George Lucas’ latest release ‘Red Tails’ features a primarily black cast and the director has told reporters that he struggled to get the film financed “because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all…I showed it to all of them and they said ‘no’. ‘We don’t know how to market a movie like this’.”
“‘Red Hook Summer’ is described as a coming-of-age story about Flick (Jules Brown). A preteen private-school student, who is sent against his wishes from his comfortable Atlanta home to spend the summer in a Red Hook housing project with the grandfather he’s never met. That would be Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), a fulminating Baptist preacher determined to deliver the Lord to his sullen grandson.”