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Spike Lee & John Ridley Do the Riot Thing

12/6/2006 5:28 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ridley and LeeAfter Michael Richards' racist invective at an L.A. comedy club opened a new discussion about race relations in America, Universal Pictures is getting into business with a pair of pragmatists who don't fear a frank discussion of the N-word.

TMZ has learned that director Spike Lee is coming aboard a new film from Imagine Entertainment about the run up to the L.A. riots of 1992, and the aftermath, with a script written by John Ridley ("Three Kings" and "Undercover Brother").

It's been fourteen days since Richards harangue went viral, but over 14 years since a predominantly white jury acquitted four cops who were videotaped beating motorist Rodney King. On parole for a robbery conviction, King led cops on a high speed chase, then finally pulled over. Videotape showed him resisting arrest, with the LAPD tackling, tasering and beating him. The acquittal of the officers proved too much to bear, and it uncorked a spree of looting, arson and murder; 55 people were killed in L.A. on April 29, 1992.

If Ridley's propitiously timed article, entitled, "The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger" (now in the December issue of Esquire magazine) is any indication, his script probably won't give L.A. rioters a free pass based on shared skin color.


"...That which retards us is the worst of 'us,' those who disdain actual ascendancy gained by way of intellectual expansion and physical toil, who instead value the posture of an 'urban,' a 'street,' a 'real' existence, no matter that such a culture threatens to render them extinct. 'Them' being niggers. I have no qualm about using the word nigger. It is a word. It is in the English lexicon, and no amount of political correctness, no amputation into 'the n-word' -- as if by the castration of a few letters we should then be able to conceptualize its meaning without feeling its sting -- will remove it from reality. So I say this: It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck. Just as whites may be concerned with the good of all citizens but don't travel their days worrying specifically about the well-being of hillbillies from Appalachia, we need to send niggers on their way."

Lee has already weighed in on the L.A. riots in a previous film, albeit obliquely: The opening credits of his 1992 movie, "Malcolm X," show footage of the Rodney King beating.

More recently, the director has been interested in present-day social justice and race relations, exploring the abandonment of impoverished black New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as seen in his HBO documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts." Interestingly, the subject of black looting was again raised.

In "When the Levees Broke" Lee repeatedly interviews a 42-year-old woman named Phyllis Montana LeBlanc, a resident of N'awlins Lower Ninth Ward. "There were two things I asked Spike when we first met," LeBlanc told Newsweek, "First I asked him, 'Are you going to tell the whole story and make it clear that all black people aren't poor, ignorant looters?' And then I asked if I could cuss." She laughs. "When he said yes to both, I said, 'Hot damn, we've got a deal!'"

Universal didn't offer immediate comment other than to confirm the deal after checking with a spokesman for Lee.


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Mr. X    

F*** all of you idiots who now have something against Reginald Denny. What the f*** did he do to any of you? You stereotype yourselves over and over. A**holes.

2876 days ago

Mr. X    

yeah that's it-blame blame blame-it's always someone else's fault (see whitey) but never your own. Whats the word? Oh yeah-typical.

2876 days ago


I will say this..Michael Richards is an idiot...then and now. Never liked him...never will!! If I'm looking for comedic genius, I'll stick with Jim Carrey.
Richards' comment were, absolutely, without a doubt racist. I have a hard time believing that they were malicious. He looked like he was freakn' insane. If he never gets another gig, I guess he'll just have to suck it up and live off his royalites.

Mr #13..kiss my black ..... If your life is so tough and you hate your country so much...all I can say is " bye bye"...see ya!! Good luck getting an education, which is what you clearly need, elsewhere. I'm thinking that if you enough money to afford a computer, you're doing better than a lot of people.

It breaks my heart to see people starving to death. What is even more heart breaking is that it happening right here. In a country that boasts to the world that it can put a man on the moon, but can't find the money to feed starving babies

Mr #9///i'm shocked.

So Mr "kiss my black *****...Why don't you just quit your whining and worry about something worth while.

CIA putting crack in LA to support the sound as idiotic and neurotic as Michael Richards.
Mr #9/// i'm're spot on!!

2876 days ago


To I'm Shocked...

The point is not how others view us, the point is how we view ourselves. If I'm an educated and successful black woman and like to listen to a variety of music or *egad* have white friends, why am I looked at as not keeping it real? It' become such a stereotype within our own race of how a "real" black person should act and some of the requirements of being "real" are just plain stupid. The point is not to become successful and turn your back on the rest of your race, but if you turn around and offer a hand up to your brothers and sisters and they spit in your hand and call you bourgois everytime, how many times are you supposed to reach back? Step outside of your box sometimes. How many people saw Idlewild compared to Boyz in the Hood? There is more to our culture than shiny things and vocal talents and we need to direct more attention to those things.

I'm tired of feeling like every black person has to be responsible for the actions of every other black person. I'm tired of watching the news and saying "oh God please don't let him be black." We've lost focus in our freedom. What kind of advancements have we made since the civil rights movements outside of pop culture? And those of us who have excelled have only faced criticism from ignorant people. Condoleeza Rice-success-hated on. Oprah-success-hated on. Bill Cosby-success-trying to teach and UPLIFT and encourage responsibility and motiviation-hated on.

Being angry accomplishes NOTHING. Actions people, speak louder than anything. If you don't like the status quo, fix it. Do something other than sit around and complain about how much somebody won't let you do. The reason that we have yet to excel beyond what we've been given is because we can't stop fighting among ourselves, which works out just fine for "everybody else". If we spent half as much time and effort supporting each other's success and encouraging others to succeed we could rule the world! And that's just what "everybody" is afraid of.

Yeah it's hard to be black. But sitting around having a pity party about it doesn't help. Hating "whitey" doesn't help. Do you really think Michael Richards gives a rat's ass that you're mad at him? Of course not. He's already rich and successful. You mean nothing to him. So why waste your energy hating him. Ignore him and go out and buy some stock in something that he finds of value. That's how you get payback. Own your own and some of there's too. Just stop all this nonesense and for the love of all that is good, stop wasting your time waiting for somebody else to make a difference.

2876 days ago


My bad I'm shocked....missed post number 9.

2876 days ago


Its "always about Rodney King" because we live in a society that allows free speech to blacks but to no one else. That human excrement Al Sharpton once said that he will not est until the streets are filled with the blood of white men". This is typical of his stupid, racist comments and yet he continues to get away with it. ITs all about Rodney King and not Reginald Denny because we have gotten completely away from our Constitution.
Also, whats the deal with "african American"? If they are more proud of Africa than America (as the names order indicates), then please go back to Africa and do some good there.

2876 days ago

Mr. X    

Amen Nakia. That was well written!!!!!

2876 days ago


It's amazing that there is so much hatred in the world today. It's not about a blame game, it's not about either Reginal Denny or Rodney King. It is about the injustice that has occured in the black communities. How many "PEOPLE" have led police on a high speed chase and have put many people in danger? Many Whites ,Blacks and Latinos for that matter, but NEITHER RACE deserves to get beaten the way he has, PERIOD. That is what this is about. No need to call people names, we should be able to discuss our views in a mature, political manner. America is about "Freedom of Speech" and there shouldn't be anything wrong with expressing yourself about factual events that have occured in the world today regardless of it's subject. Get a grip people, white people have a right to express themselves with books and movies and so should black people. White people shouldn't get mad because the black race has a creative Director/Screenwriter like Spike Lee who CHOOSES to make his movies about his people and black people shouldn't get mad that there are talented White Director/Screenwriters who choose to make movies about their people. It's a matter of opinion. If you don't like the topics, don't go see the movie or read the book.

2876 days ago

Had Enough    

Dear I'm Shocked -

First of all, you'd sound so much more intelectual and educated if you learned how to use proper grammer. It sure does sound like you DO care what "white americans" think of you and you are part of the problem. You think that if someone of "your complexion", in your "black community" has a negative view about your race, they're catering to the whites and turning their back on thier race and its not because they want the best for thier community (and i mean community litterally). Get a clue, don't you think that 'white americans' do the same to other white americans who are not bettering themselves? But again, that's selfish, so how dare we all.

2876 days ago

We, are not amused.    

#13 IMr. Kiss My Black Balls

Do you get a headache when you give those long-winded lectures on the plight of the Black man in 20th century America? Did you learn all that at a public school?
Thank goodness our tax dollars weren't wasted!
Why is it when people find someone disagreeing with them, they want to engage in HOMOSEXUAL behavior? ("...kiss my black balls"?)
Rodney King was, and as far as I know a scumbag lowlife who by his selfish actions of driving recklessly and failing to yield when the cops tried to pull him over caused the LA riots. All that mumbo jumbo about a socital cause is just so much bullsh*t.

"Yes (he) deserved to die, and I hope he burns in hell!"

You sir, trying to show off that you are an educated NEGRO, only show that you are a SLAVE to your own perverted HOMOSEXUAL desires.
Relax my classless, overly educated friend: I have no desire to F*ck or fight with you. You are wrong, and I am not!
Now, take a deep breath and think about what you'd like to say in response and...slowly...type...your answer!
We are curious to see what your great wit has as a response.

2876 days ago


to I'm shocked and Kiss My ^&* just proved what I am saying by degrading an innocent bistander, Reginald Denny solely based upon the fact that he is white.....don't pull out the "poor me, I'm Black" race card when you both are obviously bigots in your own right....and Kiss My.....this is what is wrong with America....HATE for your fellow man based on his color, religion or whatever.....this is what is sad!

2876 days ago


this is what john rodley said in the los angeles times last week:

"I will not raise my boys, my two strong brown men, to live in fear of a word. They will go to school, they will study well, they will work hard, they will be productive members of the greater community, and if anyone at any time calls them "n*gger," they will laugh."

i thought it was great.

ps: nakia - well said

2876 days ago

the truth    

It seems that whenever a racial incident happens, you can bet Spike Lee will do his best(or worse if you've seen his movies) to exploit it and make millions. Far too many blacks and spineless whites go and see his movies then give it "tow thumbs up" so to speak. What neither of these ignorant people realize is that these movies don't teach or will change anything to improve the current very racist climate that STILL exists, but mostly in black people! For anyone to "accept" that it's ok for blacks to call other blacks, the "n" word, is such an ignorant logic that they're missing the entire point! If the word is vile for the whites to say this word, then it should be EQUALLY vile for blacks to say it also. So many people have conditioned themselves into believing that "society" has accepted black comedians to poke humor while using the "N" word to each other, then at the same time say very racist comments about whites in their monologues. But all unholy HELL breaks loose when you get a white comedian saying this word, not saying that MIchael Richards is in any way a comedian because he is not, and it's considered RACIST! How ignorant can people be? Yes the word is disgusting and should have been banned from all speach long ago. But because we have stupid people still using this word in everyday in "music, mainly RAP MUSIC" and in movies such as "Rush Hour", it's ok for blacks and latinos to call one another the "N" word. This logic has exasperated this word so much that it has come back and doesn't seem to be going away. There's an old saying that says, "those who refuse to forget the past, are destined to repeat it"! Well guess what..Because of this "N" word popping up all over the place, it's back with a vengence! You people are the reasons idiots like Spike "the racist" Lee will continue to make millions on other people's pain. And this word will live on forever, unless of course you and I mean all of YOU, start to abhor this word again. If you are supposedly against racism, then stop with the stupidity of using this word and ban it completely from your vocabulary. When more and more people continue to be disgusted by this word, then we will begin to see it go away. Only the true racists such as the White Supremists or Aryan Knights and KKK members such as Senator Robert Bryd, will continue to use it. Don't be a fool and be like them unless you too are just as racist!!

2876 days ago


Nakia, I couldn't have said it better myself! WELL WRITTEN!

2876 days ago


First off, whoever says Spike can't make an impartial movie, has never seen Summer of Sam or 25th Hour. 25th Hour was from the perspective of a white man facing jail time, and the story was superbly told. By the way #25 you need to watch When the Levees Broke, one more time, all the way through, and PAY attention. Both of the problems you spoke of were addressed in that film. Both Nagin AND that bitch ass govenor had to eat crow by the spoonful. You discover (if you had watched the film), that the Govenor wanted to maintain control. It was about ego and power, and who's decision it was going to be, to save NO. She was the only one that gave a sh*t how it reflected upon her public image, hence the 24h hour wait. If you had watched the movie you'd know that. White people were in that film as well, if that makes you more comfortable. Here is some advice, before you go judging Spike or his movies, YOU SHOULD WATCH THEM FIRST, otherwise you wind up writing three paragraphs full of grammer errors, incomplete sentences and ASSUMPTIONS that only makes YOU LOOK LIKE AN ASS.

2876 days ago
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