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Sharief Easterling Headshot

Red Hook Summer

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I had the privilege of being invited to a screening of the newest Spike Lee joint Red Hook Summer, and let me be the first to tell you its nothing less than exceptional. I immediately fell in love with the young lady in the film named "Chazz". A representation of the innocence, beauty and sincerity in our children that is too often lost to the corruption of their environment. I grew
up with so many girls who remind me of Chazz, who certainly started with good intentions but eventually succumb to the tantalization of "the hood". With hopelessness and dejection being the norm so many of them were forced to accept the unacceptable. To live up to some ridiculous standard of "realness" that promotes complacency amongst ignorance, promiscuity, and excessive violence.

The film also addresses our relationship with the church, and the way we blindly put our faith into religion like its going to save us. As if the human interpretation of God is the end all solution to our problems. The social and economic restraints that so heavily deprive our community are actually products of tactics introduced by the church in the first place. I feel the existence of God is indisputable, but so is the presence of corruption throughout religion. Reinforcing religious guidelines is merely a strategy used by governments to control population, and it has been for thousands of years. I feel religion should be used more as a reference point than a universal law and judging from this film it seems Spike would agree.

I also love the way the film highlights the juxtaposition between the different neighborhoods and people that inhabit Brooklyn. With some of the most drug infested crime ridden areas in the nation sixty seconds away from multi-million dollar real estate the living experience here is unique to say the least. As the rapid gentrification of the inner city continues the interaction
between these different cultural and economic demographics will increase. The question is, is this a gift or a curse? Will we take this opportunity to learn from one another or to further our prejudice?

Spike's track record speaks for itself, he continuously pushes the envelope by tackling the social and political issues that are prevalent within the African American community. Forcing us to confront the sensitive issues we so often neglect. No A list actors or multi-million dollar budgets have been associated with this film so its important that we as consumers do as much as possible to promote it! If we don't support our own projects we can't expect anyone else to.
So do the right thing and go see Red Hook Summer. No pun intended.