School Daze

Following his “guerrilla filmmaking” debut, School Daze (1988) was financed by Columbia with no interference, making Spike Lee the first black director to be ever given complete artistic control.

With an all-black ensemble, Lee's musical comedy addresses satirically class and color divisions within a black college where affluent light-skinned “gammas” clash with the underclass dark-skinned “jigaboos.”

School Daze proved that a film about African-Americans could succeed–redeeming a history of stereotypical images from authentic experience. Despite Columbia's poor promotion and unenthusiastic reviews, the film grossed more than twice its cost.

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