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Big Macs or Sirloins (Spike Lee Vs. Tyler Perry) Do We have to Choose?


By Miguel Lloyd

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This week, I was visiting family in Phoenix, when what started as all pleasure trip turned into a bit of a business. My little brother, who is a student at Arizona State University, informed me that Spike Lee would be there while I was in town. He asked me would I like to attend. Of course my response was an emphatic “yes.” Man, that’s Spike Lee! Of course I want to hear what brother Spike has to say. Than my mind started to work. There are many people who don’t know how influential and impactful that brother was through the late 80s and early 90s with his Spike Lee Joints.

Spike Lee seems to have become a bit of a caricature of his former self. Much more Mars Blackmon then himself. That little guy at all the Knicks games screaming at everybody from Reggie Miller to Lebron James, all while his beloved squads have sucked! The little dude with the funny rimmed glasses, the funny walk, clap and loud mouth. The dude according to writers like Terrell Jermain Pryor are certified “haters” for being openly critical of the “quality” of work that the black community is receiving in cinema.

Spike Lee has been put in that “crotchety old man” group with the likes of Bill Cosby, Danny Glover and Dick Gregory. These media figures that came through the game when you had to really have a compelling storyline in your works to gain the appeal of the audience. An era when Black artists truly wanted to make a difference and educate their audiences, because they knew how much that lacked in schools and in their homes daily.

When Spike made movies like “Do The Right Thing”,  “Jungle Fever”, “Mo Better Blues” and “X”, he always had the goal to teach while he entertained. During his appearance at ASU, he spoke of his love of history, which has always been a focus in his work. He has been one of the few mainstream black filmmakers that was had that desire and success at doing just that.

On the flip side, brother Tyler Perry’s direction has always been that of telling the same story with different characters. It’s like how, McDonalds takes the same hamburger patties and puts different sauces and vegetables ( I use that word loosely) on them to make them more appealing. When you take that bite ultimately, it’s still the same meat, that many of us consume incessantly to our detriment.

Now before you put me in that Tyler Perry “hater” group, chill out. Admittedly, I think I have seen all of TPs movies and support them regularly, just like once every six months I crave a Big Mac. I enjoy it, but I know, if I eat too many of them to often, my waistline and my wife won’t be happy with me.

To me, Tyler Perry is like fast food and cookies. They need to be enjoyed in moderation. For example, For Better or Worse was too much for me. Way to much drama, too little substance, especially when a quality show like Reed Between the Lines had my attention. But that’s a blog I’ve already written.

Spike Lee’s flicks have always been event-like to me and many of my generation. For 10 years starting in the late 80s, a Spike Lee Joint was the talk of the community. Sure he has had some misses like Girl 6, but for the most part, he exposed his audience to different aspects of the African-American experiences that a lot of us became interested in due to his introduction. Admittedly, the floating platform shots that have been his signature have been annoying at best, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Spike has always wanted to do things his way to put his signature on his work so that it would resonate for years to come.

What am I saying? Well, that Spike and Tyler are truly different filmmakers that make work that are equally as important in telling our story. Their work is a direct reflection of their backgrounds. Spike is a child of a Jazz music instructor and a teacher. He is a legacy Morehouse man, and not to mention he’s a New Yorker. While, Tyler Perry openly expresses his personal battles and experiences with molestation, homelessness and the gun-toting, Bible thumping, weed smoking, “Christian” relatives he put in a blender to come up with Madea.

Unfortunately film studios seem to believe that our market can only ingest one type of film per generation, while general market filmmakers can tell any story they like and get major distribution.

The easiest argument is the one that is often used in this case. Perry’s films make money, while Spike’s not as much. Let’s be clear. No one including Spike, can knock Tyler Perry’s hustle. No one does that better. But do you think that Lil’ Wayne is a better emcee than Nas or KRS-One because he sells more downloads? Do you believe that a Big Mac is better than a Ruth Chris sirloin because they sell more volume? The fact is that it is undeniable that Perry is a better business man then Spike, but not a better teacher.  Ultimately, when it’s all said and done, if I had to choose what to put in the time capsule for generations of the future to use as a case study of what our generations film making legacy would be, I’ve got to go with the little dude from Brooklyn. I guess that’s the professorial, Obama trait in me, overtaking the hustler, Diddy trait in me. I just think our future would be better off.

Miguel Lloyd is a blogger, radio host and Media entrepreneur.  He hosts a weekly talk show called Life Full Circle Radio. The show includes super producer, Nikkia Ganey with hot topics, Seshmi Robertson with Entertainment, Elton Gumbel with Sports and Alton Drew with the Politics365.com Politics segment. Join us this and every Wednesday night for the lively conversation by clicking HERE!

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Black Patrioitism:Why is it ever questioned


By Miguel Lloyd

Check out Life Full Circle Radio to catch the best Radio on Radio!

This week marks the release of the highly anticipated film “Red Tails.” This movie will chronicle the heroism of the mighty Tuskegee Airmen, the band of African American airmen who fought simply for the the right to….well…fight.

There has been many adaptations of this story over the years, but none with the fanfare that this one is receiving. This one has been executive produced by one of the greatest filmmakers of all times. Mr. George Lucas. One of Hollywoods elite. But even with all his box office success ( Star Wars Franchise and Indiana Jones Franchise), it took him 23 years to bring this project to the big screen. Not because it wasn’t a quality story. Not because the characters are not compelling, but because the most exciting white character in the film will probably be Adolph Hitler.

Although African Americans have had extreme success in all areas of American life, you have two issues that present themselves here, from Hollywoods perspective. Black actors aren’t “bankable” and blacks aren’t American “Heroes.” Both theories of which George Lucas and his investment partners are banking will be debunked with this film.

For the sake of this weeks blog and show, we are going to narrow in on Americas perception of blacks as American Heroes. Blacks and Patriotism. Why aren’t blacks consider “patriots?” Why is that blacks as a whole do not consider themselves patriots?

Even though, black soldiers have made the same sacrifices for country that whites have, you never seem to see many stories told about the heroism of the black soldier. Why is that?

On this weeks episode of Life Full Circle Radio, we will examine this often believed misnomer that blacks are less patriotic that whites. And if it is possibly true, who’s to blame and what we can do about it.

Of course, as always, we will have our super producer, Nikkia Ganey with hot topics, Seshmi Robertson with Entertainment, Elton Gumbel with Sports and Alton Drew with the Politics365.com Politics segment. Join us this and every Wednesday night for the lively conversation by clicking HERE!

In the Realm of Winners, Lebron is more Shaq than he is Kobe


By Miguel Lloyd

Check out Life Full Circle Radio to catch the best Radio on Radio!

This week versus the LA Clippers, Lebron James proved that he is a lot more Shaq than he is Kobe.

Between Kobe’s 5 rings and Shaq’s 4 championships, they have been key members of the basketball royalty over the last 15-20 years. One thing that I have expressed over the years, when the Kobe haters and I get into debates, is that Kobe was always option 1. First in his mind, than in the minds of Phil Jackson, the Lakers coaching staff and the rest of the league. Why you ask? Because the main reason that Kobe is so polarizing is because you can’t tell him he is not the best that has ever done it. Not when he was bald headed, wearing number 8 shooting air balls versus the Utah Jazz before they won championships, or now in his 16th year in the league, put together, literally, with tape on a damaged wrist and (God knows what) in his knees. He is simply a “killer” in the vain of athletics and winners.

On the other hand, there is Shaq. Now before you guys start bugging out, pulling up Youtubes of him breaking baskets and catching alley oops, I want you to think about the personality of Shaq. Very jovial, fun-loving Shaq. The pitchman. Superman. Kazaam, and all the other names he’s coined for himself. The difference between Shaq and Kobe? Kobe’s only names he’s known by besides his own are Black Mamba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_mamba) and some other names that because they are profane, won’t make it on this blog.

Their off the court personalities tend to match their on the court personalities. Although Kobe is probably never the leader in FT percentage on his team, he is always the one who steps to the line to shoot the techs. Why? Because in his mind, there is no one better to handle the pressure. On the the other hand, Shaq’s futility at the free throw line helped coin a phrase (Hack-a-Shaq) that has been adapted to use on many big men, with the inability to come through in the clutch at the line. Just last night, the new age Superman, Dwight Howard, set a new record in most FT’s because he hits less than half of them, night in and night out.

You see, during the great Lakers run that featured Shaq and Kobe (and the Heat run with D. Wade for that matter), the big fella was no good to his team most of the time in the last 6-8 minutes of close games. Why? Because passing him the ball was in most cases a “lost possession” because he couldn’t get past the mental hurdle of standing at the line, with everybody looking at him to sink the big shots. Kobe has never had that problem, whether at the free throw line, or fading away with three 6′ 8″ plus defenders using every inch to block his game winning heroics.

So what does this all have to do with King James? The anointed one? Well since he has come into the league, the pundits have tried to find who Lebron is most like. His game is truly like no other, that I can recall. He’s built like Kevin Willis, is fast and powerful offensively like Karl Marlone, can handle the rock and score, like Jordan and pass like Magic. What he doesn’t have is the heart of a champion. At least he hasn’t shown it yet. If I had to pick a player on the Heat that has shown that, its D. Wade…hands down.

No one with the ability of Lebron James, should defer to anyone unless its an Olympic Dream Team roster. But this isn’t NBA 2k is it? This is real basketball. Although Magic could have only dreamt of having the overall athletic ability of Lebron, King James still hasn’t achieved what Earvin achieved based on a killer instinct that drove him to move from PG to C his rookie year to win his first championship, or channel is inner Kareem with the running hook to beat the Celtics in the eighties.

Yet, in this era of intense media scrutiny that only Jordan could probably relate to, Lebron still seems to fall short. As Lebron has become the pitchman, that sells you everything from shoes, to sodas to insurance he still hasn’t sold himself that he is truly, “the man”. We all know that he has WAY more ability than is needed to make it happen. What he has not exhibited yet is the killer instinct to close the deal. Maybe he needs to sit back and take the lead from someone who has already done it. His teammate, D. Wade. The one with the proven…killer instinct. NBA Champion 2006.

Lebron still has time to win at least one or more championships. Not sure about the 6 to 7…that may be a stretch. He just may need to be Shaq or even Pippen. Putting up big numbers in a support role. Theres no harm in that.

Of course, as always, we will have our super producer, Nikkia Ganey with hot topics, Seshmi Robertson with Entertainment, Elton Gumbel with Sports and Alton Drew with the Politics365.com Politics segment. Join us this and every Wednesday night for the lively conversation by clicking HERE!

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