I wasn’t even a teenager in 1992 when the film “X,” Spike Lee’s biopic of the late civil rights legend Malcolm X, hit theaters. But after watching it, I immediately became a fan of that young, black pioneering director from Brooklyn. Not only did Lee’s directing of “X” enthrall me, the film indirectly influenced my fashion choices.
I, along with millions of black men across the nation, copped an “X” baseball cap and a red, black, and green Africa medallion soon after viewing the film. (Yes, the early 1990s were also the days when “Troops” and “Filas” were the sneakers to have on your feet and kids were saving up money to buy a Luster’s S-curl kit.)
A reading of Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X soon followed. I had never been so conscience about being a black man, until I saw this landmark film. At the tender age of 12, Spike Lee had me self-assessing my black male masculinity.
But now, at the age of 31, Spike Lee has me scratching my bald head.
How and when did he become such hater? And when did he stop making those gritty, Afro-centric grassroots films that “fought the power” and start complaining about his lack of it instead? His self-indulgent rants against Hollywood and unprovoked diatribes at fellow directors are becoming so common that I have to wonder if he is experiencing a midlife crisis.
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