ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING: Spike Lee, Temple University, Last Night
BY TIFFANY YOON At 7pm last night, Spike Lee (Shelton Jackson Lee) spoke to students in Mitten Hall at Temple University. A coy Lee — wearing a black turtleneck, denim jeans, tweed beret and his signature glasses, as ever, reminiscent of Malcolm X — spoke to an over-packed hall of students. The heavy turnout wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the Emmy-award winning filmmaker except that this event took place amidst a stressful last week of classes for Temple students and most sacrificed valuable studying time, sleep and grades just to be in the same room as Lee. Rather than focusing on his film career or speaking about 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks (his production company), Lee focused on issues having to do with the African-American community and urban gentrification. He encouraged undergraduates to pursue what truly motivates them in life instead of focusing on making a buck, because as he warned, “when times get rough and you’re just working for money, you’re not going to be motivated to push yourself through.” Lee emphasized “living” rather than simply “existing.” The current economic conditions were addressed with the many financial barriers that soon-to-be graduating students will inevitably be facing in the near future, but Lee stressed not to become discouraged or persuaded, especially not by the influence of their parents’ wishes. “Parents fuck up dreams,” said Lee, “My son is playing ice hockey, and I don’t think he’s gonna make the NHL or anything, but I just don’t know where that came from, but I still try to encourage him in what he’s decided he wants to do.” A short Q&A followed Lee’s lecture and the night ended with the room heckling anyone that stepped up to the mic and embarrassingly couldn’t remember the name of key characters in any of Lee’s films, especially just after praising his work. Everyone stayed in high spirits and stuck around to catch a photo-op, an autograph or a few words one-on-one with the director.
[Photo by TIFFANY YOON]