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Filmmaker Spike Lee Holds Columbus Press Conference
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Filmmaker Spike Lee was honored last night in Columbus with the Wexner Prize at the Wexner Center of the Arts. The Center on the Ohio State University Campus is showing a few of Lee’s works this month. In an afternoon talk, Tuesday, Lee discussed his interests including filmmaking, politics and sports.
In town for his award, Spike Lee says he had Governor Strickland’s ear Monday night. He and Mayor Coleman who support Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy says they lobbied the governor who’s already endorsed Hillary Clinton.
“Last night I was sitting at the table with the governor and I said, Governor, are you a super delegate?’ And he said, Yes I am.’ So we had a discussion,” Lee said. “And the mayor was there so we were tag-teaming.”
Lee indicated he’s already fed up with politics as usual, especially with the conflicts between the Clinton and Obama campaigns.
“Shenanigans. High jinks. Naw. We already had that in Florida. Unh-unh. There’ll be trouble in River City if that happens,” Lee says.”
When the conversation turned to sports, Lee mentioned the movie He Got Game which was written and directed by Lee in 1998. It’s an inside look at the world of professional sports which left a lasting impression on its creator a decade later.
If you play for big-time basketball you should be paid,” Lee says. “I think the NCAA is pimping these guys. It’s a billion dollar industry. You guys seat 106,000 here at Ohio State. Notre Dame has a $200 million contract with NBC. And all you can say is, Well, we give them free tuition and board. That’s bull-xxxx.”
Asked about the lack of diversity on a mid-western university campus Lee used the Ohio State football team as an example.
“I’m not here to blast Ohio State. I just think it takes a commitment from the top about diversity. I think this has to reflect in the faculty and the administration. And just the fact that you can put your football team out there and of the 22 starters – offense and defense – 20 are African Americans, that ain’t necessarily a sign of diversity. So I really think it takes a commitment from the president, from the board of trustees, if they’re committed or not. Everything else is just lip service.
Lee’s 2006 film “When The Levees Broke” is an examination of the U.S. government’s response to the hurricane Katrina