TCM Road To Hollywood / New York

Quentin Tarantino’s much-talked about film “Django Unchained” starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio, opened on Christmas day. While the movie has its supporters, several have spoken out in criticism of the slavery-inspired film.

Spike Lee is the latest to add his voice to the conversation around “Django” in a recent interview with Vibe. He told the magazine:

“I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it… All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me… I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.”

Lee didn’t expound on why he felt it was disrespectful, but others have taken issue with its excessive use of the N-word. Also, many feel its an entertainment-focused exercise in revisionist history that turns slavery into a Western movie. The most controversial viewpoint sees “Django” as a tool to assuage white guilt.

Toure wrote an opinion piece on the movie for MSNBC, calling it a heroic love story and claiming: “He gives us masters dying at the hands of a freed slave on a mission to liberate his wife. I wonder if our ancestors would find that disrespectful.”

What do you think of the film, Clutchettes? Will you go see it?

  • Natalie

    What educated sort of person would say out loud “I can’t speak on it because I am not going to see it, but it’s disrepectful to my ancestors.” But my man, you have not see it, you just said! How do you figure?

    Omg, I can’t with people!

  • Sydney

    I’m sorry, maybe I missed it somewhere..but why was this considered article worthy?

  • Ooh La La

    I saw the film and I quite enjoyed it. I liked how it showed slavery to be gruesome, like it really was. When Kerry took the lashes FELT those screams. That said, I can see why some find it disrespectful at certain points. There’s a lot of humor inserted in the movie that could be read as making light of a serious issue, but not so tasteless, in my opinion, that the overall message is lost. Also keeping in mind that this is a Tarantino film, and that’s his directing style. Just like Inglorious Basterds, it’s a comical, gory fictional twist on history where vengeance is a central theme. I think everyone should see it, then decide where they stand.

  • THe Comment

    When he can keep a movie in the theaters longer than 2 days……maybe I’ll be interested in what he has to say.

  • heide

    Sydney I don’t know because it wasn’t even quote worthy.

  • D.T.

    I knew you all were going to come on here and trash Spike Lee. You all love and worship white men.

  • opinionatedgal

    I’m seeing it! Can’t wait!

  • AnnT

    I think our ancestors would be far more disgusted with the way some of our brethern act in real life. I usually stand by what Spike Lee says most of the time and his movies are classics, but this statement makes him seem ornery and surly.

  • nattynay

    Although I respect and understand his sentiments, I also wonder why instead having something to say about other directors why doesn’t Spike Lee come back and continue to write and direct films(Aside from that Michael Jackson special)?

    I will see DJango because I’m a fan of Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio looks like a funny villain.

    But I’d really love to see a new Spike Lee joint.

  • jas

    Spike Lee has always seemed jealous of QT’s box office success since he has been unable to enjoy said success. No educated person would share their opinion on something they’ve not seen. I smell a hater. Simple as that.

  • kaf

    @D.T… That is such a ridiculous thing to say, spike lee said he didn’t see it but it disrespectful!!??? What he said didn’t even make sense, i think what it comes down to is the fact it was made by a white man, not a black one. if a black man would have made it, spike would support heck he might have even put his name on it.

  • Gina

    I did have a few problems with Django and I’m gonna keep it real.
    Maybe you can call me over sensitive but I’m not gonna be duped.

    I saw the film and these are the problems I had with it, IN MY OPINION,
    1.) The White Hero: Seriously, Leonardo AND Chris Waltz were both nominated for an Oscar for this movie. So was Tarantino. Jaime Foxx and Kerry Washington were not. The black people in the film barely had any real monologues are anything that defined them as characters beyond slaves.

    2.) The Damsel In Distress: Kerry Washington’s role was not a role. She just screamed and cried a lot. I really wanted to see her with more dialogue other than waiting to be rescued. She was a victim. And no, I don’t prefer that she roll her head or have an ‘attitude’ or anything. I just wish her character was more dimensional.

    3.) House N*gga Samuel L Jackson: I felt like the big finale/revenge was the fight with him at the end. How come Mr. Candie (Leo) didn’t get some huge revenge scene at the end but he did it to the black house slave? I just felt like Tarantino was trying to make it seem like, ‘SEE! BLACK PEOPLE SOLD THEIR OWN PEOPLE TOO SO WE ARE’NT SO BAD IN COMPARISON!!’.

    4.) I don’t think this was Oscar worthy. In my humble opinion, Inglorious Bastards was a masterpiece. Django he could have put more thought/work into and yet there is something that feels really lazy about this film. I’m not buying the hype.

    Bottomline: We need more black directors telling our story. But as they say, history (and apparently movies) are written by the winners.

    See the movie for yourself.

    I thought it was okay. Samuel did a good job being an asshole. So did Leo. And Chris Waltz played a good hero. What’s new?

  • jamesfrmphilly

    why are we the only ethnic that permits pejoratives to be used against us?

  • Treece

    I like spike lee, so I’m mot going to rail against him. but I wonder how he could conclude that its disrespectful if he hasn’t seen it yet. the only beef I could think of that he would have with the film is either the use of the n-word or the fact that slavery is depicted in the context where there are darkly comical moments. He could be pissed that a film that takes place during slavery is being directed by a white man. I don’t know, but I definitely think he should give it a chance. Tarantino has made a film that is an action/love story that takes place during slavery. People should not expect this to be a film ABOUT slavery. there have been far more disrespectful films and tv shows that have been produced that he could complain about than Django. The Help….any of Tyler Perry’s tv shows…I could go on.

  • gennatay

    Why is Spike Lee considered the authority of black films?

  • Crystal

    The film is very unrealistic considering the time period. I can understand his opinion of it being disrespectful to our ancestors.

  • Child, Please

    I kind of expected people to go in on Spike. I just wonder if Spike Lee produced/directed this how many would have been as gun-ho about seeing it. I’m sure – irregardless of his artistry – folks would have gladly tore him a new one.

  • WhatIThink

    The movie is supposed to be a joke and not taken seriously in my book. Roll on the floor and laugh at the jokes and feel good about something totally unreal. It is a movie. Period.

    Because if you REALLY want to be serious, I think it is disrespectful to our ancestors that black folks haven’t built up any ability or will to produce and promote their own history and stories without having to cry and moan about what white folks do…….

    But of course some folks would rather complain about someone else so they can either ignore or make excuses for their own actions or lack thereof.

  • Ooh La La

    You make some really amazing points. While I did like the film, I understand what you mean and how it could’ve been better.

    1) It is strange how this movie was promoted to be this wonderful love story about Django and Bromhilda (sp?), yet they were sort of overshadowed by the other characters. I felt thr especially about Kerry’s role.

    2) I was surprised that Kerry seemed more of a feature that a main character. Her character is very meek and vulnerable, but honestly I found that somewhat refreshing. I feel like the black slave woman is always portrayed as overly strong and patriarchal. Every black female character doesn’t need to be her own hero, and showing weakness is okay sometimes. But you are right about her being one-dimensional. It was almost like she didn’t have a real voice.

    3) I think the ending against Samuel L. Jackson’s character was so much more intense because of the fact that he was black, yet siding with whites. A true traitor. You expect degradation from whites, but something about turning against your own people makes his character particularly sickening.

    4) I definitely agree. Django doesn’t seem as complex as Inglorious Basterds.

  • Kema

    Yes! His films always seem unfinished.

  • J. Gail (@Author_JGail)

    Why doesn’t Spike make his own magnificent movie about the era instead of downing someone else’s work? If you have a problem with how black people are being portrayed in movies please use your pull experience name & connections to make a REALLY GOOD movie yourself Spike. Don’t complain, take action.

  • Natalie

    The 2013 Oscar nominations have not even been released. Don’t make things up or at least google before posting. Google says January 10th. Everything else I disagree with, but it was most important for me to tell you that, no, the Oscar nominations are not yet out.

  • Anthony

    Crystal. I have not seen it, but my guess is that it is a history based fantasy like Inglorious Basterds.

  • Anthony

    I agree that SPike Lee has a history of beefs with Tarantino, and I think he resents this white man telling black stories. I will also say that Tarantino has been more commercially successful at converting his B movie influences into commercial successes than Lee has been at bringing his arthouse sensibility to the cineplex.

  • MaxineShawAttyatLaw

    @ D.T. Pretty much

  • kaybee

    Ain’t nobody thinking about Spike. First off.. I saw the movie and it was movie of the year!!! Second..thats what this whole movie thing is about..being creative..not everyone wants to see a depressing movie on Xmas or another Roots..This man took a chance on this film & it paid off. Django made me proud to be African American, I admire his endurance in this film, never gave up.

  • Jace

    I adore Spike Lee. I do. But I think he is being a hypocrite here…Does he NOT remember when he released “Summer of Sam”? The Italians LOST THEIR MINDS!! And he went through the same situation, and pretty much said he didn’t care whether the Italians liked it or not. It was a story with some truth to it, so they had to deal with it…..Well, Same here. Spikes Lee’s “Summer of Sam” is Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. Spike REALLY needs to cut it out. I am more than willing to bet if Tyler Perry made Django Unchained, NO ONE would have anything to say.

  • ANthony

    Woah! I cannot even concieve of Tyler Perry making Django Unchained! That is too much for my brain to handle!

  • MurkyEarth

    You know what’s ‘disrespectful to our ancestors?’ Idiot young black people deciding not to do anything with their lives and deciding to continue the cycle of poverty, not looking past the ghettos because they don’t think its possible. You know what’s else disrespectful? When after the whole civil right movements, they decide voting is a waste of time and then don’t. Also, the fact that some of our people decide to do ill to the communities, shooting innocent people and bringing in drugs and making life miserable for those who are trying to do right. THAT is what’s ‘disrespectful to our ancestors’, I’d imagine. Spike Lee needs to serious get over himself but I don’t think he can see the forest from the trees.

  • Jaslene


  • vyletlite

    I think people should stop making commentary on the film WITHOUT actually seeing it. The movie is great. Point. Blank. **seeing Django destroy the oppressor in multiple scenes was epic** just saying

  • Jaslene


  • Jaslene

    You are right.

  • Yb

    I think Gina meant that Waltz and DiCaprio were nominates for Golden Globes. Simple mistake, no need to jump down her throat.

  • D.T.

    You’re either white or a very sheltered black person. Either way, you are a sad case.

  • Mademoiselle

    Just saw the movie, and I honestly hate it as much as Spike. Between Sam Jackson playing the resident coon — a part that could’ve easily been written out of the movie, but apparently he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play Sambo, the inappropriate punch lines (including the 5 minute long joke about the klansmen not being able to see out of their masks, much of Sam’s lines, and a bunch of other parts that seemed to have the audience busting a gut while I wondered how I ended up there), the gratuitous nude shot of Kerry Washington, which also could’ve been written out, the long unending story line that went nowhere for most of the movie, and overall just how unbelievable (in both a “I’m not buying this script” sense and a “You’ve got to be kidding me that you actually wrote this script” sense)… I honestly walked out upset. I can understand fully why Spike feels like this script disrespected our ancestors. I agree with him.


    I am a huge Spike Lee fan since back in the days, with his earlier works. I have nearl all his films on DVD. He is one of the most influential Black men in cinema.

    However, after seeing Django, he is way off the mark here. Django is one of the best movies to come out this year.

    I don’t wanna call it jealousy, because I think Spike is too professional for that, but the reality is, Django is one of the movies that Spike wishes he could make, but Hollywood just wouldn’t allow him.

    Unfortunately, it took someone like Quinten to make it. I’m just glad it was made.

  • Beautiful Mic

    I’m going to see the movie, to be fair. I recall I had an issue with one of Spike Lee’s more recent films. I also recall an online chat session from years ago where he conveniently dodge questions about the subject matter of choice in his films and his pro-racial claims.

    I think he can be such a hater and elitist. But I also think Tarantino focuses too much on negative black stereotypes in his films despite being a great film maker.

  • Gina

    Golden Globes is what I meant.

  • Jaslene

    If you missed something, read it again. Reading comprehension is important.

  • Perry Weston

    Spike Lee dislikes Tyler Perry and all his movies.

  • Seaki Fashion Designer / Illustrator

    Dear Spike Lee, Sit your hatin ass down somewhere. The world DOES NOT revolve about you and your temper tantrums and tirades,…..and PLEASE spare the fuk out of me concerning our ancestors! The struggle that our people went through, should NOT be a ‘springboard’ for your damn ego! Many of my freinds saw Django and responses from tears to leaps for joy, have been relaid to me. My advice to you , little bitter short ass man,..get your shyt together,..and make one that IS EVEN BETTER!!!! We will all be supporting you, as we always have. You are an excellent filmmaker, one of the MOST important in OUR history as black people, well as this society. BUT If I see another tirade on Twitter, like you are a 5 year old,hopped up on too much sugar and caffeine,.im coming to Brooklyn!!


    Finally, somebody with some sense. Reading the majority of these ignorant comments in support of Tarrantino just makes me shake my head.

    The majority of here are probably too young to remember in the 80s when Hollywood didn’t give black filmmakers the chance to direct major motion pictures. There were none due to racism. Spike Lee and others paved the way for serious black films (other than the exploitation crap they produced during the 70s ) to be made. He used credit cards to produce his first movies, so, yes, Spike Lee’s EARNED the right to speak on the production of black films as an art form.

    Lee’s movies were commercial and box office successes, and if it hadn’t been for Spike, I doubt white movie makers like Tarrantino would even take the time of day to produce films black topics as worthy of their time.

    Throughout Django, there is the constant use of the “n” word is being whipped around, along with the same demeaning, derogatory stereotypes of black people. But to most of you, it’s “okay” as long as your entertained and see a few token black faces on the screen.

    Last night, one blogger summed up what I was feeling about one of the actors in this movie: Hahaha! Samuel Jackson is the new “Uncle Ruckus”. So, fitting. And the rest of y’all might as well take a second look in the mirror because you all qualify as Uncle Ruckuses, in my book.

    Don’t know who Uncle Ruckus is, Google it.

    For the women calling out Spike for his rape scene in “She’s gotta have it”… very few are talking about the racist and sexist stereotypes about black women produced by Tarrantino. Why the double standard”:

  • donnadara

    I’m wondering why black people are breaking their necks to see a spaghetti western with slavery as a backdrop while the first black President is still in the White House? First the Help, then Lincoln, now Django. Spike is right. If you want to know your history, read a book. Why are you paying money to see black people degraded? Don’t you think Hollywood’s timing is suspect?

  • Kelly Hawkins

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing Django and I am hoping to finally do so today. I am a Tarantino fan. I’m not looking for historical accuracy. I’m looking for long-winded dialogue, a groovy soundtrack, and ultra-violence – the Tarantino film essentials. As far as Spike’s comments (I’m a fan of his movies too, though I haven’t seen the majority) I disagree. What Black American wouldn’t want to see a slave revenge story? Just for fun? Come on. I’m surprised a Black film maker hasn’t already done this, which is probably why Spike is angry, a White guy beat him to the punch.

  • Kelly Hawkins

    Good point. I was definitely thinking conspiracy when Lincoln came out during the election.

  • Rue

    Wow. All the people attacking Spike’s commercial success, and saying he is jealous of Quentin. I wonder there aren’t more black producers and directors who make “black” movies???

  • Child, Please

    I especially think with Roots celebrating 30 years, this particular movie’s timing is suspect. I do believe in coincidence’s, but I think this was highly unusual.

  • Caramel

    I don’t care if the movie is brilliant and the best thing since moving pictures, I for one am NOT going to pay my money to go to a theater and sit there for two hours hearing the word nigg^^. Not going to happen. That is not entertaining for me. That is just my opinion and I am allowed to have one.

  • DasaniFRESH

    If you think Spike Lee is angry about a white director “beat[ing] him to the punch” you’ve sorely missed the point of his initial comments…

  • Sweetles

    Thank you! Your comment is on point.

  • Mia

    I absolutely agree with Spike Lee that the movie is disrespectful and I do not believe that he is hating. I just watched an interview with Tarantino and Jamie Fox where Tarantino said of the criticism, “It’s a movie. You’re supposed to have a good time”. There was nothing “good time” about slavery. Slavery is one topic that I feel needs to be handled with the utmost respect and dignity at all times….not be played around with and made into a spaghetti western with comedic undertones. There wasn’t a damn thing funny about it. It seems as though black people have become so far removed from our history that we allow it to be handled in just any old type of way….and we will pay money to see it and act in it too.

  • Velma

    Really people? It’s just a movie….and it was pretty good. It’s just sour grapes for Spike, as usual; this is nothing new.

  • ANthony

    Spike Lee is talented, but he has a history of sounding like he thinks his is the only opinion that matters. I find it annoying that he sets himself up as th arbiter of what forty plus million people should see or like (no matter his claims to the contrary.) He sounds even goofier than usual because he admits that he hasn’t even seen the film.

  • Anthony

    While Spike has a point tat Tarantino has a history of gratuitious use of the N-word, others could point out that Spike Lee had a bad habbit of gratutiously exposing female breasts in many of his early movies, especially in scenes where characters he played had very unlikely looking (way too hot) love interests. Girl 6, I believe, is a good example of this, as well as the ice cubes in Rosie Perez’ breasts in Do the Right Thing.

  • Pearlsrevealed

    Django was never meant to be a history lesson. It is just a period piece of entertainment. Lincoln is a dramatization of actual events. I take it as showing us how far we have come and how politics is still as dirty as ever. Spike has a right to his opinion and I choose not to agree with him.

  • Kelly Hawkins

    I don’t think so. t’s possible to create a story centered around slavery and revenge without disrespecting the ancestors, I’m sure. He could have meant a few things by that comment, but he’s not elaborating so I guess we’ll never know…

  • The Other Jess

    very sad to hear that Django made you proud to be an African American..smdh

  • The Other Jess


  • The Other Jess

    THANK YOU for the first honest review, and not being just another awestruck reviewer only in love with this movie simply because a white guy with a big name happened to make a movie about enslaved Black people.

  • The Other Jess

    wow…hateful much, huh?

  • The Other Jess

    I agree – you all are slamming Spike Lee about supposedly not being able to compete with Tarantino as far as getting his movies out, but do you even know what Spike lee had to go thru to get his movies made and distributed in the first place?

    Some of the first movies ever to feature full casts of non-stereotypical Black people on the big screen came due to Spike’s efforts – efforts he had to make with very little money. Do you know that Spike had to fundraise and even BEG to get a measly $30 million dollars to make Malcolm X (a movie NO white filmmaker would touch without turning Malcolm into some kind of militant, threatening coon)? Movies like the Lord of the Rings, King Kong, or from Marvel Comics regularly have budgets in the $100s of millions of dollars, and hollywood funds them, no questions asked – but one black person asks for $30 mil and it’s considered “too much to ask for” for one movie?? This what Spike lee was told and the movie almost wasn’t made because of it.

    I think Oprah, some Black sports stars, and a few others chipped in to help Spike get the necessary funds for this movie. And he’s made a plethora of other movies that speak to some aspect of the Black experience – no, not the total experience, but at least some aspect and with very little cooning and buffooning.

    Honestly, after reading the majority of these comments, it has truly become clear to me that the truly ignorant people are those making the majority of the comments on this article, not Spike Lee.

    The fact is that even if Django is a great and entertaining movie, you HAVE to give respect to Spike Lee for his opinion AND for all of his work to make movies depicting Black people in multidimensional, non-buffoonish manners, and to actually have them distributed in mainstream venues long before Tyler Perry had a clue on how to get a movie distributed on Hollywood.

    And lest we all forget, even in these “post-racial” times (haha!) Tarantino has white privilege to help him churn out movie after movie – people like Spike Lee STILL have to work 10 times as hard to get movies funded and played, especially if they are not coon shows or patronizing sob stories of Black pathologies that may appeal to white audiences.

    I respect your opinion if you think Django Unchained is entertaining, but all of this dissing of a Black film pioneer and trailblazer for some white guy who has made one film that may or may not speak directly to the Black experience (and who does so mockingly, no less) is dayumn near blasphemous to me! SMDH


    Spike needs to shut the hell up and make some more classics like Crooklyn, Do the right thing, Mo better Blues, and Jungle Fever. I’m tired of him complaining lol. Get off ya tall midget ass and make some damn flicks lol.

  • Taprecords

    Red Hook Summer is now on DVD.

  • Mr Jay

    Totally agree it is a ploitation film meets spaghetti western. Read a slave narrative if you want to know the subject.

  • MissHuntley

    How can he have an opinion about the movie and he hasn’t seen it, and doesn’t plan on seeing it? NONSENSE! Also when did he become the spokesperson for black america?

  • isola

    Saw the movie and I really enjoyed it. Did not go into the theater expecting roots. It actually is a love story worth seeing.

  • Chrissy


    Exactly. It seems people are forgetting that Black filmmakers still have a harder time than their white counterparts.

    We also do not know if a Black filmmaker has ever tried to make a movie like this. It is very possible, but maybe it didn’t get very far because nobody wanted to help fund or support a movie by a black talking about slavery. I mean it is so “stereotypical” But when a white person makes a film about, ohhh it’s so fresh and transgressive.

    I bet if a Black person came out with a movie like this a lot of people on this website would complain and say “why cant we just move on from the past.”

  • 123

    So I guess you also wouldn’t read “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Huckleberry Finn”?

  • 123

    It’s not a historical film. This reminds me of people who criticized “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” as not being historically accurate.

  • Anyway

    One thing for damn sure Quetin Taratino is don’t speak for me…and can never! making comedy’s out of slavery can be passed by…LOL on Christmas

    Think Sometimes…before we speak

  • Senesless Agai

    Yes, romantizing slavery so white people can feel better about themselves….Yeah Spike should been on top of that one…LMAO next You people don’t represent all black folk. So, your opinion is no more of value than Spike’s. This topic is senseless.

  • 1luv

    Django Was Great!!!! Spike’s officially a hater. The movie does not romanticize slavery and the humor is appropriate. See the movie with an open mind.

  • momof2dews

    +100 – I saw the movie and felt the same way.

  • Tara

    Sam Jackson’s role made me cringe over and over again. When the house slave (female) stood there trying to get the attention of white men also made me cringe. I am glad that they took the rape scene out. I heard that it was really graphic.

  • NJ

    I recently saw Roots again so I was ready for Django. Frankly, I’ve been waiting all my life for the fantasy slave revenge movie. if Spike had wanted to make this movie he could have. He is indeed much more the arthouse auteur and Quentin Tarantino is the king of commercially successful B movies with great production values. Spike Lee is also welcome to his opinion, although I disagree. You were supposed to revile Samuel Jackson’s character, so he played the hell out of that role. But let’s remember who Sam Jackson is. He’s hardly Stepin Fetchit. He wanted to play the character as a challenge that was way out of his comfort zone. And given that he’s usually an unapologetic, badass, he was successful. I understand the same could be said for DiCaprio from interviews I’ve read by both on the process. That didn’t take away from Jamie Foxx’s triumph as Django. Bravo, encore.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    as long as we take ourstory from white people we will continue to have problems…

  • Niqi

    Spike is not the only one who has spoken out against this movie,why just focus on him?

  • Linda Davis

    Lee is a hypocrite; he’s in no position to criticize this film regardless of how bad it may be. He has consistently exploited issues within the Black community, and he seems to have an obsession with white women as he has often placed them in the center of black stories. Perhaps the worst offense was dedicating 45 minutes to Malcolm having an affair with a white woman or the 2 soldiers fighting over an unknown white woman in Massacre at St. Anna. Then there’s the Jungle Fever where there was none and Denzel f… a white ho. And don’t forget that ridiculous School Daze wherein dark skin black women and light skin black women were at each others throats.

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