I use Instagram for a combination of interests: first and foremost, seeing and being inspired by great photography (which doesn’t seem to be the priority for most users), but then for following filmmakers, actors, musicians and athletes so I can actually SEE what they’re up to away from their work (and while they’re at work- both interest me), a few brands that I like who post good photos and video, LOL’ing at some comedy/meme accounts, and of course looking at pictures of fitness and bikini models and not buying a single thing they get paid to promote. Oddly enough, my last priority on there is following people I actually know and “socializing.” I prefer to use Facebook for that. Instagram is for photos first, and if I know you and you don’t post interesting photos, I’m not following you on there. It’s what it is.
So as I scroll through the ‘gram, there’s absolutely no logic to it (thanks, algorithm), which I guess is part of the appeal. Instagram is like a box of chocolates; I never know what I’m gonna get. I might see a post from the Boston Celtics about last night’s game, then something from one of my favorite photographers that makes me jealous, then an Australian model wearing a bikini in her bedroom (as one does), a video from Jessica Chastain goofing around on the set of whatever movie she’s currently shooting, then something random from a filmmaker like Spike Lee. Well, Spike Lee did show up for me the other day, posting an odd photo, and I just had to read what nonsense he came up with for a caption. He did not disappoint:
I don’t know why, but this made me physically angry. I despise when people deliberately take a photo or clip of a video out of context and react to it in a manipulative way to serve an agenda. I HAAAAAATE that shit. Either Spike has no clue what’s actually going on in that photo, or he knows and doesn’t care. Neither situation called for such an ignant reaction.
Disclaimer: I love Spike Lee as a filmmaker. He’s probably the most famous black director in Hollywood history. He’s made a bunch of movies I admire (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, He Got Game, Bamboozled, 25th Hour, Inside Man). He’s also a huge sports fan, and as a huge sports fan who wants to make movies I love that he’s a precedent showing the two can mix. BUT, he’s also been massively outspoken politically over the years, and I don’t have to tell you what side he’s on. He specializes in using the strongest language he can come up to make his point, which only makes him more irritating if you happen to disagree with him. He has the arrogance and confidence of a militant and does not respect people with differing views.
Sidebar: after about 5 seconds on the Google machine, I discovered the moment captured was from a February 28 meeting between Trump and black leaders for Black History Month. There’s video of the moment readily available:
Naturally, I scrolled through the comments, looking for some intent, probably hoping for some smart people to call him on his bullshit. Surely, this isn’t just Spike Lee mocking black people who dared to pose for a photo op with Trump. No, that’s exactly what it is.
I did find it amusing that Lee must’ve spent at least an hour of his day responding to people on the post, because there are probably 30 comments that he replied to directly. Here a few of those exchanges:
Just some of the most vile shit you could imagine. Lee calling other black people coons, “house knee-grows”, and he refers to Popeye’s Chicken. If Spike Lee were anything other than black and wrote this shit, he’d never be heard from in public again. Then he laughs at the people saying the photo was a positive thing showing the power of unity. What a fuckin asshole.
And why? Because several black community leaders had the audacity to meet with the President of the United States in good faith? Because they said a prayer for him? Because he looked awkward while they were praying like he always does around normal people? That means THEY are somehow sellouts? Fuck you, dude.
GOD FORBID a black person, or multiple black people, stand in the same photo as Donald Trump, or openly support him in any way. It’s funny how he says in one of the comments that Trump only took this photo “to get black votes”, but I guess he doesn’t mind when white Democrats pander to blacks and then do nothing to improve their quality of life. The intent is only devious when Republicans do it. Do I have that about right? Go search ‘Hillary Clinton panders to blacks’ or ‘Joe Biden panders to blacks’ and you’ll be appalled by the results. Or you should be.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but let it be known just because I’m against Lee’s actions here doesn’t make me a MAGA bro. I’m a proud independent who hates both parties and believes the two-party system is the root of nearly all our problems as a nation. I like to think I’m anti-bullshit, no matter which side it’s being peddled by. I’m also a biracial black man and I have long wondered what exactly the Democrats have done in my lifetime to earn the vast majority of the black vote they receive time and time again (in presidential elections, it’s usually 90%). At what point do blacks, including you Spike Lee, actually demand some results and not just words? To me, that’s much more ‘woke’ than calling everything and everybody racist all day.
Spike’s theme here is to suggest this is modern day slave mentality. I would suggest it’s a slave mentality to believe 100% of blacks should think the exact same way, believe the same thing and blindly support the Democratic Party.
It saddens me that someone this talented with a big public following is willing to sink to this level without hesitation. It doesn’t help that he knows he’ll face absolutely no backlash from anyone whose opinion he actually respects. I’m betting even his critics didn’t notice this post among all the shameless self-promotion he does on there. Unfortunately, the only conclusion I can come to is that Spike Lee is one of many artists I admire where I have to separate the man from his work. I’d like to end this by saying “do better, Spike”, but when it comes to his politics, I don’t believe he’s capable of better.