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Spike Lee inspires HBCU pride at 30th anniversary screening of ‘School Daze’ 

Photo: A.R. Shaw

Over 3,300 college students, HBCU alumni, and fans of Spike Lee packed the Fox Theater in Atlanta for the 30th anniversary screening of School Daze. The event paid homage to a film that provided a glimpse into the day-to-day world of HBCUs, particularly the ongoings at the Atlanta University Center.

Released in 1988, School Daze was visionary in a sense that most of the nation had never witnessed a film that explored the reality of HBCU students, professors, and administrators.

Before the film screening, Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms honored Lee with a proclamation. During the film, audience members expressed their excitement by singing along to the musical numbers such as “Straight and Nappy” and “Be Alone Tonight.” Most of the audience stood up and danced during the scene where E.U. performed “Da Butt.”

Following the screening, we caught up with Lee who, shared his thoughts on the impact of the film 30 years later.

“We’ve had two screenings in Brooklyn and last week we had a screening on the Sony lot,” Lee said. “This was the best. Even better than Brooklyn. Atlanta came through. People represented their schools, sororities and frat, people stood up and did Da Butt. People were yelling the dialogue. It was very emotional. Only a low percentage had ever seen the film in the theater. Over 3,300 people showed up and it was great.”

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Photo credit: A.R. Shaw