Rebel is Rebecca Carroll's regular conversation on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC, or participate in one of Rebel's monthly conversations in The Greene Space.
I have known Spike Lee for a very long time. We are by no means close, but we reserve a healthy mutual respect for one another. As a cultural critic, I have at times been, well, critical of his work. I hated Bamboozled, which I told him directly, but I loved Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and Inside Man. I'm old enough to feel actual nostalgia for School Daze and Mo Betta Blues, and I can identify a Terence Blanchard score after the first few notes of hearing it. I have taken issue with the way Lee has written and developed (or not) his women characters, and marveled at the way he crafts a visual narrative with fervor and audacity. Above all, though, I love his love of black people, and the way that love resonates on the big screen.
But over the past decade or so, his films like Chiraq and Oldboy felt like they lacked the vision and imaginative structure that I admire, while mainlining the undeveloped or problematic women characters I took issue with in the past. So when I say that his latest film BlacKkKlansman moved me, I mean that it moved me as much for its masterful filmmaking as for its essential Spike Lee-ness. It's a hard feeling to describe, but for this week's Rebel, I sat down with Morning Edition host Richard Hake to try and do just that, because at his very best, Spike Lee will hold us all accountable and make us think, and we need that now more than ever.
Listen to Rebecca Carroll talk about Blackkklansman with WNYC's Richard Hake, below.
Rebecca Carroll is a cultural critic and Editor of Special Projects at WNYC, where she develops, produces and hosts a broad array of multi-platform content, including podcasts, live events and on-air broadcasts. Rebecca is also a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and a regular columnist at Shondaland in addition to Gothamist. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw, and her personal essays, cultural commentary and opinion pieces have been published widely.