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Spike Lee Talks New Film 'Red Hook Summer,' The 'New' New York and Linsanity

Spike Lee has never been one to shy away from an in-depth conversation. In his latest sitdown with Vulture's Will Leitch, the NYU professor weighed in on the state of New York, the Knicks' asian sensation and his upcoming film 'Red Hook Summer.' Check the highlights below.

Returning To His Roots in 'Red Hook Summer':
"I am going to try to shake the narrative as much as I can. This is not Spike going back to his roots. Red Hook Summer is another chapter in my chronicles of Brooklyn. I am a professor at NYU—I’ve been one the last fifteen years—and one of the courses they are teaching in cinema studies this summer is “Scorsese’s New York.” The postcard has a map of Manhattan and a dot where each Scorsese film took place. For me, it’s Brooklyn. She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, He Got Game, Clockers, Crooklyn, and Red Hook Summer

His Empire State of Mind:
"Look, there are pros and cons. Is [New York] safer than it was back when Scorsese made Taxi Driver? Yes. But a lot of people liked 42nd Street better the way it was. New York City, I feel, is the greatest city in the world, but it will not be that anymore if it is only rich people here. And people want to stay here, but they cannot afford it. People have to be able to feel that they can afford to live here and their children get a good public-school education. How safe you are in New York depends what neighborhood you live in. Now I would tell you, sir, the Upper East Side is more safe than Brownsville, Brooklyn. The Upper East Side is more safe than East New York."

On Linsanity and the NY Knicks:
"That was as loud as I have ever seen the Garden. [Mike] D’Antoni as an act of desperation said, “You go in.” The Lakers game, that was bananas. What I love was that Sports Illustrated cover where Jeremy Lin is going down the lane and he is surrounded by five Lakers and he is the only Knick on the cover. There are five Lakers converging on him, and he made the layup, too. When you are seven-seven, I do not care who you are, you are a basketball player. But Lin, he went to Harvard and got cut twice. He got cut from the ­Houston Rockets on Christmas Eve. Yeah, it was sad [to see D'Antoni go]. Most of the time I am not happy when someone gets fired. I will probably find out, now that the season is over, what actually happened."

The Price of His Season Tickets:
"It is public knowledge. I try not to remember the price, but it is a fortune."

On Gay Marriage:
"All I can say is, I support gay marriage. They want to marry each other, I support it. That is their choice."

The 'Tyler Perry Syndrome':
"I would not call it a syndrome. Thing is, those box-office numbers prove there is an audience for those films. Yet, at the same time, I think there is an audience that would like to see something else. At this moment, those other films have to be made outside the Hollywood studio system. This comes down to the gatekeepers, and I do not think there is going to be any substantial movement until people of color get into those gatekeeper positions of people who have a green-light vote. That is what it comes down to. We do not have a vote, and we are not at that table when it is decided what gets made and what does not get made. Whether it is Hollywood films, network or cable television, we are not there. When I first started making films and I would have Hollywood meetings—and I know this for a fact—they would bring black people out of the mailroom to be in the meeting."

On Retweeting Wrong George Zimmerman Address:
"They are great. The McClains. But that was not a good time. A big mistake on my part. Not a good time. I think I am smarter—I feel I am confrontational when I have to be, but it is not something that I live, breathe, sleep, and eat. There are just some things since I have been a filmmaker that I have made a comment on, and when you stick your neck out there, you got to let the chips fall where they may, and every time is not going to be perceived the right way. You are going to be misquoted, misjudged, or whatever, but this started early. Joe Klein said Do the Right Thing was going to incite riots."

Read the full interview here.

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Oscar Grant's Family Advocates To Have Fruitvale Station Named After Him

Nearly 10 years to the day of his passing, Oscar Grant III's family is aiming to build a tangible legacy in his honor. A request to rename Fruitvale Station in Oakland, Calif., the location where Grant was fatally shot by a police officer on Jan. 1, 2009, has been made. At 22, Grant was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer while he was handcuffed and face down on the train's platform. The officers were responding to a fight on a crowded train and apprehended Grant and other riders.

“It would be an atonement, it would be part of BART saying yes this happened here, we vow that it won’t happen again and we vow to work with the communities and ensure that all people are treated equally,” Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, said.

According to KGO-TV, BART officials have declared the family's plea unlikely, not based upon the reason of the request, but rather that BART policy requires all stations' names to align with its geographical position. The Oakland transit system will instead install a mural honoring the late father. Currently, in the planning stages, the family also requested a side street at Fruitvale be named after their fallen family member.

Killed in the blink of an eye, Grant's case made him one of the many faces of police brutality. Cellphone cameras caught officers handcuff an unarmed Grant, who was later shot in the back. He died shortly after in a California hospital.

READ MORE: 'Fruitvale Station': Michael B. Jordan On the Many Layers of Oscar Grant 

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Study Shows Gun Violence Cuts African Americans Life Expectancy By Four Years Or More

Gun violence has seeped into the American culture sinking its claws into everyday life. With 53,492 shooting occurring in 2018, the result was more than 13,700 gun-related deaths, reported by the Gun Violence Archive.  A new study led by a professor at Boston University has found that the life expectancy of African-Americans has lowered by more than 4-years due to gun violence.

Based on federal data collected between 200o and 2016, the research concluded black Americans died more frequently due to homicide among younger ages, although white American gun deaths are linked more so toward suicide amid older folks.

Published Dec. 4 in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine journal."Our study using cumulative data from 2000 to 2016 demonstrates a total firearm life expectancy loss of 905.2 days, which is nine times greater than observed in 2000, indicating increasing life expectancy loss by year," wrote Bindu Kalesan, the lead author of the investigation.

Furthering the discussion surrounding firearm injury, Kalesan inferred that gun-related injury causes American's to "lose substantial years." A common misconception surrounding shooting victims, only 30% of people struck by bullets die. However, the trauma endured is now linked to the shortened life expectancy.

One of the studies calculated in the 2000s, "concluded that shootings reduced the average American lifespan by about 100 days, with a significant gap between black and white men: Black men lost 361.5 days, while white men lost 150.7 days," wrote Nick Wing, a journalist at Huffington Post.

Two hundred and eleven days in difference, this study is a clear indication of the racial gap plaguing people-of-color in relation to the inherent violence suffered through life. Gun policy, a clear stain on the American fabric, has become a growing issue, claiming lives by the tens-of-thousands with no clear sign of slowing down. The research illustrates the growing issues within the black community, because not only are we being attacked from all sides, we engage in friendly fire.

READ MORE: Girl Who Penned Essay On Gun Violence Killed By Stray Bullet

 

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NYPD Officers Caught Strenuously Pulling One-Year-Old Out Of Mother's Arms

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has found itself in hot water after a video of officers using excessive force to remove a one-year-old from his mother's arms went viral.

Initiated by a verbal dispute with a security guard, a woman identified as Jazmine Headley was sitting on the floor with her son because there were no available seats in her local Brooklyn food stamp office. After being reprimanded by an employee in the benefits office for allegedly blocking the hallway, the cops were called on the 23-year-old.

Headley remained on the floor in the upright position until the officers began to pull at her baby, rushing to arrest and separate her from her child. Hands clasped tight around her child, the mother did her best to keep control of her son, until officers started pulling at the boy as if his limbs were made of rubber.

“They’re hurting my son," she repeatedly screamed while being attacked by four members of the force. Enraged bystanders witnessing the excessive encounter tossed comments about the happenings. After apprehending the baby, and securing Headley, one policeman reached for their yellow stun gun, threatening partons in the office according to The New York Times.

Headley is currently detained in Rikers Island, while the boy, Damone, remains in his grandmother's custody. As a source of advocation for the young mother, Cynthia Nixon, former Sex And The City actress and current day New York City politician, spoke out against the NYPD fiasco.

#JazmineHeadley should not have been arrested, should not have had her child torn from her, should not be sitting in Rikers now https://t.co/yyX0ZuxFhu

— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) December 10, 2018

READ MORE: NYPD Sergeant Acquitted Of Charges For The Death Of Deborah Danner

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