Summary Of Spike Lee's Invisible Man And Bamboozed

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As long as there has been humanity, there has been art. As long as there has been art, there has been culture. Both Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man and Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled examine the links between the two. Invisible Man follows an unnamed protagonist, the narrator, through his journey as a young black man navigating life from the south to the north, and eventually through the Brotherhood, a predominantly white organization who fight for racial equality. Bamboozled is the story of a TV writer, Pierre Delacroix, who attempts to fight the racist system he faces daily at work by ruining his network’s reputation with a satirical minstrel program. His show prominently features Manray, a tap dancer from the streets, and his …show more content…
Through the music and culture they create, the Mau Mau’s are able to connect with an African identity that was stolen from them. When we first meet Big Black Africa, he explains the mission of the Mau Mau’s, saying, “‘We're revolting against the power that be, that been enslaving the minds and hearts of all people of color. And we won't stop rapping till we bring about the overthrow of the government of the U.S. of A.’” The United States government was founded on the principles and economics of slavery, benefitting white people in every way. By making music, the Mau Mau’s hope to become a catalyst for the destruction of this racist government power through the education of their listeners. Their lyrics aptly illustrate this. They rap, “‘Mau Mau be about land and freedom/ Reparation and apologies, for Africa to America odysseys/ …show more content…
When the narrator is nearing the end of his stay at Mary’s house, he comes across a coin bank; a figure of a man with dark black skin and large red lips. The narrator ultimately smashes the coin bank, saying, “Why would Mary have something like this anyway?” (321). Seeing this imagery makes the narrator go into panic mode, hence the smashing. The bank symbolizes the men who have tried to exploit the narrator on his path to a job and success. He smashes it as he turns a new corner in his life, realizing that he won’t ever be valued within a working white community, and so should join the brotherhood. Later, when the narrator sees Clifton performing on the street with a sambo doll, another racist caricature, he says, “I looked at the doll and felt my throat constrict”(433). The narrator almost stops breathing at the sight of this image, even more extreme than smashing it. Clifton’s progression from fighting for racial equality to willfully perpetuating this racist representation of black people is a wake up call to the narrator. This one incident with the doll sets off a chain of events that makes the narrator realize that the brotherhood is using his blackness for their gain, that it is not his own. In one of the last scenes of the novel, after the narrator has been thrust from the brotherhood, he winds up under

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