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bell hooks, Cultural Criticism… On Spike Lee, ‘Girl 6’ & Representing Blackness In Hollywood

bell hooks, Cultural Criticism… On Spike Lee, 'Girl 6' & Representing Blackness In Hollywood

While revisiting “Girl 6” in installment #2 of my Spike Lee series this week, I remembered this clip – a portion from a much longer video titled “Cultural Criticism & Transformation,” from the Media Education Foundation, featuring the one and only bell hooks, waxing philosophic on Spike Lee’s career in general, with some emphasis on “Girl 6.” So of course I had to post it for those who haven’t seen it.

Although I suggest you watch the entire series, which is all on YouTube, in pieces. It’s many years old, but still relevant.

As an aside, it’s actually timely (in light of recent events) watching her assess Quentin Tarantino’s scene in “Girl 6,” arguing that sequence is a critique of Hollywood’s understanding that what blackness is, or what black film is – as something that can be negotiated by anyone and any filmmaker because black people aren’t *needed* to tell stories about black people, because white people can! Spike himself has said much the same thing, singling out Tarantino specifically, who may or may not have realized that Spike is actually making fun of him in the film, casting him as essentially himself.

And by the way, bell hooks’ “Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies” is absolutely recommended reading.

Watch below:

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bell hooks has NEVER followed mainstream white feminism which she says believed in the whole separate gender from race. A lot of black feminists believe race and gender, and class are linked in relation discrimination. A black feminist Kimberly Crenshaw is the one who created the intersectionality which means people have multiple identities which cross and are a part of their realities.

There is a black feminist group the Combahee River Collective and they also acknowledge the sexism of black men but also acknowledge the importance of black people working together across gender lines. bell hooks and the Combahee River Collective one of the founders was Barbara Smith wanted to make black communities stronger. bell hooks also wrote a book about black men a few years ago I think it was called Black Masculinities or something like that.


Ok, I'm a big fan of bell hooks but I hadn't seen the video of her giving her thoughts on Spike as a filmmaker and I have to say that I love what she had to say, particularly about Hollywood viewing Spike as failure. Also, I literally laughed out loud at her calling Waiting to Exhale a "shitty movie!" I didn't exactly think it was "shitty" (lol) but I get her point, no doubt.

Jayson Jay

bell hooks was one of the first prominent Black feminists not to use Black male misandry as a promotional tool so I have a degree of respect for her even though I often disagree.

Malik Emir El

Girl 6 and all of the Films Spike Lee has Developed speaks to the souls of the So called Black experience. The effort of White hollywood to condem Spike on his work or profits is a clear picture that So called white America just don't get it. In oder to understand the souls and theproblems that exist in our everyday lives you have to at least take the time to experience our side whether through film or living next to Black folk. Spike Lee gives you that chance . Unlike Tyler Perry who forces this Christian humbleness that White folks can feel good about and move around without fear. I commend our brother on keeping it real and close to home. Just as life presents it.


Yes, I remember this. She touched on a number of topics that have actually worsened since her taping including the music industry, the reintroduction of the color caste system, and Black Exoticism that is used to add "flavor" to the White/mainstream society without jeopardizing the sanctity and conservative ideologues the mainstream society has a foothold on. Good resource for the Tarantino conversation.


I've never found anything of interest re members of the niggrati in engaging in hack cultural criticism, which I've alway found to be pseudo-criticism masquerading as talking' loud but sayin' nothin'.

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