There’s so many things you can say about MSNBC’s Touré. He’s controversial, brilliant and often mixes the two and says something completely jaw-dropping. His latest? To describe Mitt Romney’s tactics against President Obama, Touré was quoted saying:
That really bothered me. You notice he says ‘anger’ twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama. The otherization, he’s not like us. I know it’s a heavy thing to say. I don’t say it lightly. But this is ni–erization. You are not one of us, and that you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.
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Even though Touré has a point, the quote ignited anger almost immediately and Touré was called “irresponsible.” Such an interesting description for such an intelligent man with so much to say. We managed to catch up with Touré and instead of asking him to explain his “ni–erization comment, we asked him about some of his favorite subjects–Spike Lee, Tyler Perry and himself. Check out our exclusive interview with Touré below.
What’s your favorite Spike Lee joint?
I love ‘Do The Right Thing’ and I love ‘Malcolm X.’ Amazing stories. I love ‘Mo Better Blues,’ it’s so cool, so beautiful. But then, you know, I sort of see three eras of Spike’s career. Early, middle and then later and I think for the later era. ‘Inside Man’ is so incredible and it’s a different and mature Spike. He’s not talking about blackness. He’s talking about making a film. There’s great black characters, but there’s great white characters. It’s a heist picture. So it’s a lot of different Spikes that you have to deal with in understanding him and grappling with who he is as a filmmaker.
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Now do you feel there’s something a lot of black filmmakers or directors can learn from Spike Lee?
I mean, you could learn everything. Look this is a classically trained filmmaker. He goes to NYU. He’s dying to really be in this game, so he really learns about the game. He develops a pack of actors who are Spike people. It’s not every picture, but here’s the Spike group, and then it develops as time goes on. So he has a way of shooting that is his way of shooting so you will watch it. He’s all about Brooklyn, you know. There’s a Scorsese Brooklyn, there’s a Woody Allen Brooklyn and there’s a Spike Lee Brooklyn and it’s very real and authentic. I moved to Brooklyn after discovering Spike in ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ when I lived in Boston and I found the Brooklyn he’s describing is very spot on and real. It’s not that Brooklyn is special; the filmmaker is special. He takes a place and he makes a world out of it.
Now I know that you’ve had some criticisms of Tyler Perry…Do you think he would be able to pull off a film that has the more serious things that Spike Lee does?
Oh my god. As we can see from the evidence we have so far, no. He’s not a serious filmmaker. He’s not able to make a serious film. He tried with uh, what’s that called? ‘Raisin In The Sun For Colored Girls…’ whatever it was. He tried, it was not a serious picture. We need a Spike Lee in the world who can make serious pictures on what it means to be black, because Tyler Perry can’t do it. Um, Lee Daniels is excellent. There are some other people, you know. John Singleton. The Hughes Brothers have been great. The Hudlin Brothers were great, or are great. But Spike is in his own category and Tyler Perry is…he’s over there somewhere.
What are you working on?
I’m finishing a book about Prince. I’m working on Nas’ autobiography, so that’ll be done by the end of the year or so.
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