Jim Brown and Spike Lee

Buy this DVD at!These are flippant remarks about Spike Lee’s joint Jim Brown All American. Hit this, Chief:

  • News to me: Jim Brown was born of that Gullah and Geechee Sea Island root. So put Daughters of the Dust in the DJ mix and stir up new thoughts.
  • Jim Brown predates Arnold Schwarzenegger when it comes to Hollywood dominance by a “strong man.”
  • Spike Lee shows that there should have been a Jim-Brown scene in Michael Mann’s Ali. At least it should have been among the deleted scenes in the DVD. This was a lost opportunity to show Wil Smith’s audience that groups of Black men came together to help each other. And of course we can’t put “everything” in a two-hour picture but this is why the impressive talents of a Michael Mann can only go so far to meet the storytelling needs of young Black people. What about the other young people you ask? My “cryptic” answer: the whole point of Jazz was to play European stuff (for the theoretical “universal” audience) and African stuff (for the ancestral Earth audience) simultaneously.
  • Raquel Welch made a point of saying this: “An actress is a little more than a woman and an actor is a little less than a man”—and, to her, Jim Brown was too much of man to be a “real” actor. Spike Lee disagrees with this. I do not—and I do this based on first-hand experience with professional Hollywood actresses and their first-hand stories with professional Hollywood actors. It’s bizarre how Raquel Welch can sound harder and tougher than “big, black” Spike Lee when speaking on this… This of course sounds self-serving but, when age and maturity came for me, my decision was to be the great role that an actor would play. The irony is that too many of these dudes see me as playing the fool… I’m remembering of the look in Steve Harris’ eyes and the expression on his face when I spoke to him at my son’s birthday party.
  • News to me: Jim Brown was a lacrosse player.
  • Jim Brown shared his house with a “white guy”—and this white guy is a far better dude than O.J.’s Kato Kaelin. And this is yet another reason why Jim Brown and rasx() are two different people: there is difficulty here understanding this lifestyle choice. Forget about the “white” part: there should be a better business-and-get-pussy strategy than shacking up with another dude. But then again you would never catch me with any fond memories of showering in a locker room with a bunch of guys and then hitting the streets knowing you are getting some female leg—and this genital knowledge is confirmed—not just for years—but decades. The bottom line, however, is that I would not want my children of divorce to have any evidence that could permit them to erroneously conclude that I would rather live with some strange dude than with them.
  • Depending on your bent, the cynical or practical fuel supply behind Jim Brown’s social programs for “disadvantaged youth” is that Jim Brown could not save/teach/raise his biological children—namely his son, Kevin Brown. This is where Spike Lee really helps along the discussion of the state of Black family. Any street urchin with dreams of a marrying a rich man should think about how one of the most powerful and publicly principled Black men in the phenomenal American realm still can’t solve this monumental family problem. Think again: it is not about the money. It is an issue of communal consciousness. After you get your cash and your toys and your enemies—eventually you have to live with yourself or die whining.
  • The testimony of Jim Brown’s wife in 2004 shows why you have to have informed people close to you. His wife should have at least a functional theory of how the police department relates to Black men based on historical data—not upper-class propaganda-based sentiment. Jim Brown should know how to walk out of his house, being falsely accused, without smashing the windows out of a car—but here in the rasx() context there is a connection between smashing up a car and marrying a woman so young and uninformed. It was through her power and influence that Jim Brown ended up locked up. But it was through Jim Brown that she was given that power and influence. Poverty and sexism prevents women and men from seeing such power and influence. Through the travail of trial and educational errors, my information says that it is not my place to teach my life partner, my woman, the one of our union with no hierarchy, that she is powerful and influential. This work is for father to daughter and elder woman to younger woman. Part of respecting women in particular and people in general is recognizing that this work was not done and behaving accordingly. But when we go “All American” we just say fuck it and take a chance. This I know very well…
  • Jim Brown and Richard Pryor tried to start a company called Indigo that was “destined” to become a real, powerful Black Hollywood institution. Again, another wave of respect goes out to Spike Lee, stepping out of his ego and documenting yet another attempt by Black people to help other Black people. Even with the ego aside, one famous excuse not to commemorate these failed attempts is to “protect” Black people by not airing “our dirty laundry” in public. But what really happens is that we never do our laundry at all and we all become washer women for the master’s house. What really hurts is to see a professional Black actress who is damn near forty years old in tears of jealousy at some screening of some white film sobbing, “Why can’t we do this?” Spike Lee doing this kind of work makes it less possible for suckers like me to feel sorry for such an uninformed person.
  • Jim Brown opens Spike Lee’s film saying “give me a hug” several times. Kevin Brown says in the same film that he can hardly remember his father hugging him once. Here in the rasx() context, we can put these two items together and speculate that: Jim Brown learned to be affectionate like this as he got older at the expense of the children of his youth (my eldest son suffers from shit similar to this because of me and my inheritance) and/or Jim Brown’s ex wives non-consciously undermined the development of their children—especially the male children—and filled their heads with false memories out of hurt and mismanagement of emotions—right about now, no one but Dr. Phil gets street cred’ for speaking honestly about this one.
  • Spike Lee insists on the DVD commentary track that he never met a person like Jim Brown with such security in himself and lack of concern of how his character will be portrayed in a documentary. My assumption is that Spike Lee has far more authority than me about these matters of insecure, rich people “of color” than me. When my words start toward this place, there is often the temptation to assume that I am being so critical because I am “jealous” and I really “wish” I had the money and the attention that they have. This unimaginative consolation continues get more ridiculous under mounting testimony from the actual participants.