Spike Lee: Black History, Barack Obama and Beyond

By Charreah Jackson, ESSENCE.com


He’s gotta have it. Lucky for us, Spike Lee is addicted to stimulating storytelling. And after two decades of meticulously and artistically painting Black America on the big screen, the prolific filmmaker shows no signs of slowing down. His latest release, “Miracle at St. Anna,” now on DVD, details the struggles of Buffalo Soldiers fighting foreign enemies during World War II in Italy and racism while home in America. In between belly laughs, Lee opens up to ESSENCE.com on Black America’s past and future, his one critique of President Obama’s inauguration and the real deal on a James Brown biopic.

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Gina Prince-Bythewood: ‘The Secret Life of Bees’

By Charreah Jackson, ESSENCE.com

Gina Prince-Bythewood knows how to tell a good story. Jump-starting her career on “A Different World,” the mastermind wrote and directed the romantic drama “Love & Basketball” and even the ride-or-die flick “Biker Boyz” with husband Reggie Rock Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood brings her vision back to the big screen again with “The Secret Life of Bees,” the best-selling coming-of-age novel set in the segregated South in 1964. With an all-star cast —Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo and Queen Latifah —the director has her fingers crossed for recognition from Oscar. Prince-Bythewood shared details with ESSENCE.com about the crazy tactics she used to get her stars into character, the state of Black women in Hollywood, and why this film may help push Barack Obama into the White House.
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Director Chris Robinson Talks ATL

atl.gifPublished: Friday, March 31, 2006

Music Video director Chris Robinson’s debuts his first movie, ATL, which opens today.

Sitting in a packed theater in Maryland, director Chris Robinson can’t enjoy the advanced screening of the movie ATL. The popular music video director is too busy noting the final changes of his directing debut on the big screen and wondering why the sound of the movie is off.

Many Howard students plan to hit theaters this weekend to make their own decisions on the film and Robinson hopes they walk away not having watched Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris in is his first movie, but remembering Rashad, the hard working character the Atlanta rapper plays, who wants the best for his brother and himself in the coming-of-age film.

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