CINEMATIC SATURDAY: ‘School Daze’, An HBCU Classic

College is a time for making friends, learning lessons, and finding yourself. A time for students to try out different things and figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. College is all about growing into oneself while staying true to yourself. Rarely do we get to see what goes on during school hours but thanks to Spike Lee, School Daze was created to give us those college feels.

What makes this movie unique is that it takes the audience through the college experience from the point of view of an African Americans at a predominately black HBCU. While telling the story, Spike Lee is sure to include certain issues that take place in the black community regarding race relations and political injustices among African American communities in the late ‘80s.

At the heart of the film’s tension are the social divisions between the school’s “Wannabes” and “Jigaboos,” also known as the infamous light-skinned, economically well-off students versus the dark-skinned, socially and politically conscious students. An infamous debate in the black community.

Laurence Fishburne plays Dap, the fatigue-wearing, campus radical who stages many protest and demonstrations on campus. Then we have Julian played by Giancarlo Esposito, the “Big Brother Almigh-tee” of the Gamma Phi Gamma frat chapter, who exemplify the exact thing that Dap is trying to protest against.

Now, the ladies. We’ve got the Gamma Rays with their straightened hair and blue contact lenses on one hand and the sorority-rejecting, proud black women on the other hand. The dilemma arises when one of them secretly want to pledge next semester.

The students face life struggles in the film that seem to only divide them apart from one another. It’s not until the end of the film that they realize that the system put in place to oppress them was working. Stay woke.

Although the film has many underlying messages regarding issues that go on in the African American community, Lee is able to make college look cool.

He found a way to introduce serious topics about the black community by showing the daily life of a college student. School Daze shows that college is a time for making friends, learning lessons, and finding yourself while being aware of the issues that arise in your communities.

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