Spike Lee and Delroy Lindo Reunite after 25 Years for Da 5 Bloods

It has been two and half decades since veteran actor Delroy Lindo and Academy Award winning director Spike Lee hooked up for a feature film.  The pair reunited for Netflix’s newest release, Da 5 Bloods, a tale of five Vietnam War veterans who return to Asia to tie up some loose ends.

Lindo portrays Paul, a veteran suffering with PTSD, wrestling with some war secrets, and battling with a “fractious” relationship with his son. Even in this vulnerable role, he is a fierce, strong, and proves why he works well with a visionary like Spike Lee.

“I needed to do this,” said Lindo referring to his part in the film.

In a virtual roundtable hosted by the African American Film Critics Association, Lindo tells me, “Spike inviting me to be part of his projects has gifted me with these brilliant characters to play as an actor.” Lindo has graced us with his presence in three Spike Lee joint previously- Malcolm X (1992), Crooklyn (1994), and Clockers (1995).

“That’s a gift to any actor that a creative worker of Spike’s statute would just call you and say “hey man come do this”, not only the invitation to participate in the work, but the content of the part,” said Lindo.

There is an undeniable alchemy when Spike Lee is sitting in the director’s chair and Delroy Lindo is on the other side of the camera. Both Lee and Lindo admitted some of the most powerful scenes in the movie are opportunities where Lindo and the cast improvised such as the riverboat market scene and when Lindo’s character breaks off from the group.

Give Delroy Lindo his flowers now. He continues to solidify his seat with the Hollywood greats, and he is tremendously talented.

Also starring Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, and Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods, even in 2.5 hours, is hard not to watch.  The suspense, intensity, and striking attractiveness of war brothers coming together calls for a really good cinematic picture.

This film is a dark reminder that Black soldiers went halfway around the world defending a country where they were barely free.  Black servicemen fought on the front lines in Vietnam, while their brothers and sisters fought for voting, desegregation, and basic civil liberties.

The Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War were running congruently. Dr. King, Malcolm X, and JFK were all assassinated during this time. Imagine being a freedom fighter or person of color fighting a war abroad when there’s one in your own backyard.

For millennials, like myself, Da 5 Bloods is definitely an eye-opener. Even in fiction, the drops of relevant, thought-provoking history cause for deeper conversation about how Black people respond to war and the sacrifices a Black solider endures. I did not know much about the Vietnam War before watching this film, but I am now on a journey to find out more.

That is powerful remnants of a great film.

Dear White People Pays Homage to Spike Lee

An ongoing race war explodes when White students host a Black hip-hop themed Halloween party on an Ivy League campus in Dear White People. Starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, and Dennis Haysbert, this was no ordinary college party. This event, which has actually taken place on campuses like Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities, literally included black painted faces, dreadlock wigs, fake guns, and loose imitation gold chains. Mockery at its finest!

The plot line is stronger than a racist college party though, reopening a can of worms that Spike Lee has been using as race bait since 1988. Dear White People is Do The Right Thing (1989), School Daze (1988) and Jungle Fever (1991) neatly rolled into one tongue-biting package. Director Justin Simien pays mad respect to the Brooklyn native and every serious message he has ever tried to convey. Lee is notably mentioned in the movie, solidifying my exact premonition- Dear White People is a deep deference to the type of movies Spike Lee has created.

The movie kindles the most perpetuated stereotypes from educated Black men only desiring White women to Black women confirming to the physical looks that society demands. Black women rock long, blonde weaves (which I have done before) and tote obviously unnatural eye colors (never), while White women put unknown substances in and on their body to look voluptuous and darker. A lot of overlapping issues such as societal configuration and self-image all closely aligned with racism and the overall theme of the film.

Tyler James Williams has emerged from his Everybody Hates Chris shadows and blossomed into a well-diverse young man. The 22-year-old, who most recently made his first appearance on this week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, plays a homosexual outcast named Lionel Higgins. In a matter of 108 minutes, makes Williams’ character a reflection of America’s deepest fears- homophobia and xenophobia.

Watching Dear White People should be the prerequisite to every post-secondary course surround race relations and film. The movie serves as our modern day Higher Learning (1995), pushing the envelope with just a little bit more pizzazz and intellect. Justin Simien, even in his beginning stage, is sitting on more than just a film festival favorite, it’s truly a goldmine.
This movie also positively eludes to the fact that ‘some’, not all, White people are insensitive racists. And the racist enemy can also be our own filled with self-hatred. But in order for the world to have courageous conversions about race in this country this movie is not only important, but a necessity for all.

For my own personal application, and by default, I find myself being the Sam White in every meeting and movie theater- the woman with good intentions but previously labeled as the angry Black woman. At times, being forced to speak for other African Americans who may not know their rights or even some who are unaware of the fight. Most times as the only African American in a room filled with White colleagues, it is my duty to not make my presence a burden but rather an asset.

5 STARS: The overall battle of race in America is a never-ending quarrel. It is films like Dear White People that bring the most penetrating issues to the forefront of mainstream media. Black directors like Justin Simien, Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler, and Steve McQueen are taking real life accounts and creating timeless cinema.

Dear White People,


I urge you to see Dear White People. Don’t assume this film is a tactic of reverse racism. Yet, open your minds and hearts to witness a fictional glimpse of actual racial turbulence.  Matter of fact, everyone should see this movie- not just White people.


Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Throwback Movie of the Month: She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

People assume that because I am a film critic I have seen every movie ever made. Contrary to popular belief, I have not! Matter of fact, I just watched Scarface (1982) for the first time this past week. And this whole time I thought it was an Italian mafia movie, but really it follows a thuggish Cuban on his way to the top of a drug cartel.

I know it looks like I know all things related to movies, but I don’t. And that’s the beauty of this job! In my free time, I am able to watch some of other people’s favorite movies just to form my own opinion about it. This month’s throwback movie is Spike Lee’s very first feature-length film, She’s Gotta Have It.

She's Gotta Have It

Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) is young, sexy, and terrorizing local Brooklyn men with her bold moves and striking confidence. Her boldest move was juggling THREE at one time. Her manly roster included:

(1) Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks): The Stand-Up Guy. After falling in love with Nola, Jamie fights for her commitment, but quickly realizes that her judgement is clouded with sex and attention.

(2) Greer (John Canada Terrell): The Show-Off. Materialistic and self-centered, the over-the-top model was concerned about what he could do for Nola rather than what he can do with her.

(3) Mars (Spike Lee): The Silly Boy. Begging reached a whole new level with Mars, a goofy small-time guy willing to share his beloved Nola.

Shes_Gotta_Have_It

Spike Lee, who employs his sister, Joie Lee, for a role in She’s Gotta Have It, is like the Black Adam Sandler. Other than his sister, actors like Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson. and Giancarlo Esposito have all been in more than one Spike Lee film. I love the fact that he keeps the circle tight, but he’s also willing to step out on a new actor. Overall, Mr. Lee keeps good, consistent actors in his movies.

The Morale of the Story

Ladies, we have all been there. Very rarely do women marry straight out of adolescence. As an adult, there’s some fishing around that has to occur before you find your prized trout. With all of its complicated elements, the dating field means having a few men on the bench AND on bases in order to find the all-star. I’ve been Nola Darling a few times and making those commitment decisions comes with maturity and trust. There’s no need to put all my eggs in a raggedy basket.

Let’s address the double standard too! If a man shuffles more than one woman then he’s labeled as a bachelor, pimp, or gigolo. But if a woman even lusts after more than one man, she’s cursed as a hoe, slut, and home wrecker. Every man is curious about the promiscuity of a woman with multiple male options. On the other end, fellow women scold her with a scarlet letter and put an all-points bulletin out about the new town whore. It’s not fair!

3 Stars: I gave Spike Lee an extra star because it was his very first major film project. She’s Gotta Have It clearly shows Spike’s amateur ability; however, the film sets the foundation for even better movies to follow like Do The Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), and Crooklyn (1994). I particularly enjoyed the color contrasts of different scenes. For the most part the movie was in black and white, but occasionally, we got a splash of color.

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