Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a York Federation of Students event at York University: A talk by Spike Lee. It was open to the public ($5 a ticket) as well as students ($2) and had limited spacing since it was held in a lecture hall. It was a great turn out and people were buzzing to hear from the legendary American director. The talk started late a few minutes late but as he barely entered the room, Mr. Lee was greeted with an ecstatic applause.
The night began as Safiyah Husein, the Vice-President Equity , discussed the YFS’s Expression Against Oppression series. She mentions the various forms of oppression that take place and urged students and community members to help in creating change. She then introduced Spike Lee who’s main topic was about race and media. The talk was insightful, humorous and thought provoking. Lee discussed how he got into film (or more like fell into it), his family’s support of his dream (primarily his mother and grandmother), the state of African Americans and their community in terms of incarceration, education, familial relations and their mindset on all of these values. He mentioned the notion of the “reality TV show” (not “real” at all), the bombardment of information and distractions afforded to us by social media, television and etc and the controversy of Lil Wayne’s remix of Future’s Karate Chop (Lil Wayne disrespects Emmett Till who was a 14 year old boy murdered for allegedly looking/flirting with a white woman). He also left us with a warning that if we chose our majors in post secondary for the sole reason of making money then we’ll fall into the trap of a 9-5 job no one wants to be in. He encouraged us to follow our dreams and to do what we enjoy and not do things because of the dollar signs.
He said it was now our generation’s job to instill change.
After concluding, there was a question and answer period. There were great questions along with über fans who couldn’t speak or spoke so much that Lee was barely able to respond to the question. Overall, it was a great two hours that I would normally dread if it was a normal lecture. It went by too fast and hope to hear from Lee again.
In the meantime, I’ll be marathoning his movies.
What a great way to end the last day of Black History Month.
A. A. Omer