spike-tylerSpike Lee is one of the two or three American directors who consistently produce entertaining, yet meaningful, social commentary. His latest, Red Hook Summer, playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a few select locations, is a standout. In case you miss it, be sure to catch it on cable.

Time goes by. Before you know it, one era is over and a new one begun. Spike Lee has over the decades chronicled life in Brooklyn. And so as time moves on, She’s Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing, Mo Betta Blues, Crooklyn, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour and now Red Hook Summer stand forever as celluloid amber forever.

Tyler Perry makes slapstick flicks and something else, works of quality set in that Promised Land where we are people living real lives, with real conflict, and not first and foremost bearers of our race. For example, The Family That Preys, Daddy’s Little Girl, Why Did I Get Married and the quiet, little gem, Good Deeds.

One man, the relentless artist carving out a massive, enduring body of documentary and theatrical cinematic works. The other the master craftsman and outstanding commercial success with a finger in serious drama. The two do not agree and have said so publicly. But perhaps that is as it should be. Each represents one of the poles of African American political and economic thought. Here’s hoping that for quite awhile, they keep up the very good work. . .

( by Dr. Arthur Lewin, author of Read Like Your Life Depends On It, www.readlikeyourlifedependsonit.com )