Spike Lee In Conversation with Nelson George (left.) Photo by Drew Gurian for Red Bull Content Pool
Last night American auteur Spike Lee sat down with interviewer extraordinaire Nelson George to screen a series of shorts and clips from his feature films emphasizing his use of music, whether it was original songs, scores, choreography, source sound and various combinations of all of the above. “All of the above” may best characterize Lee’s incredible ouevre, which has broken multiple artists (hell, genres), seen him collaborating with Prince and Michael Jackson AND Stevie Wonder and ceaselessly used his films to experiment at the extreme boundaries of musical numbers, cinematic choreography, jazz and orchestral scores, DJing, concert footage and plain old funk. The evening kicked off with back to back clips of his short film for Prince’s “Money Don’t Matter 2Nite” and the “Nappy & Straight” sequence from School Daze…and proceeded to lob grenade after grenade into the mindgardens of those assembled. Below are 5 key facts we learned about music and movies from Spike and Nelson’s joint:
1. Spike Lee Invented “Da Butt.”
This one you maybe just forgot you knew, but it’s worth repeating: when making his sophomore film School Daze, Spike didn’t pick a go-go track to highlight the all-out freaknik experience that attended black college parties in the 1980s. He invented a dance called “Da Butt” to entertain himself…and then recruited Experience Unlimited to make an original go-go track to bring it to life for the movie’s iconic scene of black frat bacchanalia. “Da Butt” went on to hit #1 on the US r&b Billboard chart and largely helped to introduce go-go to mainstream consciousness.