"Brothers and sisters, I am here to tell you that I charge the white man. I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth."
This Week's Essays
First Viewing: Honoring the Man
Coming into my first viewing of Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic Malcolm X, my biggest question was whether the film could transcend the typical biopic. Could Lee follow up his masterpiece Do the Right Thing with the same anger and style?
Scenessential: Pilgrimage to Mecca
There are two important turning points in Malcolm X, scenes that both introduce the elements that will structure the act they each begin and depict a pivotal moment in the development of Malcolm X’s thought. The second such scene, which opens the third act, is Malcolm’s hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
White Audiences and the Legacy of Malcolm X
Spike Lee is many things, but “subtle” is not one of them, a fact this intense opening sequence makes abundantly clear. In just a few minutes, he tells his audience what to expect, but more specifically, he’s giving his white audience a direct message.
It had been quite some time since I’d seen Spike Lee’s Malcolm X before I fired up my Blu-Ray player to give it a re-watch for this week. I remembered elements—mostly centered around Denzel Washington’s incredibly dynamic performance—but some of the nuts and bolts of the filmmaking had flittered out of my mind.