Spike Lee's upcoming ESPN documentary, 2 Fists Up, premiered at the Missouri theatre last night. The KC Star interviewed former MSA president Payton Head about it.
Payton Head, laying out his thesis on the movement: pic.twitter.com/sf7qE1fRWR— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 7, 2016
Had a great night with Spike Lee ✊ pic.twitter.com/nXZDuua7Hq— T.J. Warren #⃣2️⃣ (@savage_teejayy) April 7, 2016
Head also echoed something Middleton said in the film, that the problems are by no means unique to Missouri.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 7, 2016
Lee made the documentary as part of a partnership with ESPN Films to create a series of short-subject pieces called "Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints." A 22-minute version of the movie will premiere on ESPN’s digital platforms May 31, followed by a television premiere June 3. A 30-minute version plays at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York later this month.
The Missouri Theatre housed the first, and only, public showing of Lee’s hourlong director’s cut.
"Let’s hope that this piece, with all the other things happening on campus, that it sparks really serious conversation so things can work out," said Lee, who sat next to Middleton during the screening.
The film explores the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement and how it helped prompt Concerned Student 1950 to grow from a group outraged by Michael Brown’s death into a movement that shook the foundations of higher education.
There was, of course, a section devoted to the hunger strike by Jonathan Butler, one of the founding members of Concerned Student 1950.
It also examined why he chose such an extreme tactic after previous attempts to start a conversation on campus about race, such as the protest at the homecoming parade, failed to produce results.
Lee did, however, answer questions about his filmmaking practices. He said he doesn’t like the term "controversial" — a word often used to describe his films — because it is a label. He added that his films aim to cast the spotlight on issues including racism and gang violence.
"It shows that ... film is getting people to talk about the subject matter," Lee said during the class.
He said he picks the topic of his movies based on the story he wants to tell, not on the controversy linked to the subject.
Middleton's hope for "2 Fists Up" ... pic.twitter.com/2xs8XzAymA— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) April 7, 2016
An interesting addition to the rhetoric
DeShaunya Ware, a founding member of CS1950, interviewed in the film: "The football team is the new, modern-day plantation."— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 7, 2016
The film also included a clip of a protester chanting "Players are workers" during an ESPN live shot on Carnahan Quad on Nov. 9.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 7, 2016
The plantation rhetoric certainly isn't new -- Example 1, Example 2 -- but this is the first time I'm noticing that CS1950 protesters themselves were taking up the amateurism cause. (There was a lot going on in November, so maybe I just missed it.) That chorus has been slowly rising for a few years now, and I'm sure a few ears perked up at that, ears of both administrators and athletes.
And speaking of things that happened in November...
OK, you guys, I've got it: "Orange you glad Marvin Zanders practices in a different-colored jersey now?"— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) April 6, 2016