Batman (Spike Lee) and Wonder Woman (Maya Angelou)

by Tierra Ealy from Los Angeles, California in United States

Before today, if you asked me who my hero was, my first thought would be of super heroes, and my last would be an open-ended array of possible people I could look up to. I realized I did not know what defines a hero in order to say I have one. I have never seen someone like Superman stopping a bank robbery, and as far as I know, Batman is not the “Dark Knight'' of Los Angeles. I did know that a hero does not always have superpowers or fight crime, but they make a difference. A big enough difference that is acknowledged, admired, and inspires others to do the same, maybe even more. For that reason I did not have just one hero, but two: Spike Lee and Maya Angelou. Both have inspired me to use writing to express passion and pain of my experiences, the inner workings of my imagination and how I view the world.

Shelton Jackson "Spike” Lee is not only a writer. He is a film director, producer, actor, professor, and more specifically a screenwriter. “Love and Basketball” was the first movie I have seen produced by Spike Lee, but “School Daze” was the first I watched that he wrote and acted in. The comedic musical touches on issues of elitism, colorism, self-esteem, classism, and political activism, as it follows the main character during the homecoming weekend at a historically black college. This film and others such as “Jungle Fever,'' “Chi-Raq,” and “Do The Right Thing,” shed light on issues within the African American community that still reside in our society now. Lee is the political visionary of the film and the African American community. He is the founder and owner of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, producing films known as a “Spike Lee Joints." Lee is a big part of the social movement for African Americans, giving them the canvas to exhibit their talents and projects.

Maya Angelou was one of my greatest inspirations because of her poems and her legacy. As well as a writer she was an actress, singer, director, and producer. It was her passion and candor of life in poems like “ On Aging,” “Still I Rise,” and “A Brave and Startling Truth.” It was frankness that not everyone had or had the courage to express in the ways she did. She worked with Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Angelou was one of two poets in history to recite one of her poems at an inauguration for Bill Clinton. She was highly respected by everyone and known for her work for black people and women. Her books focus on issues such as racism and identity. Her poems “Phenomenal Women” and “Still I Rise” are two that motivate and remind me of what I am capable of as a woman and a person.

Spike Lee and Maya Angelou’s achievements in life, the issues they spoke about and stood for is a consistent resource of motivation for myself. Maya Angelou is my Wonder Woman with her lasso of truth in her poems, plays, and in her lifetime of work. She had invincibility, trying everything she loved and never giving up on herself or what she believed in. Spike Lee is my Batman for his countless films that send perceptive messages to his viewers, not only through biographical movies but comedies and musicals like the cover of night. My heroes do not have superpowers like flying or reading people’s minds. They don’t even have skilled combat training, but they have a voice. They have the ability to share their thoughts, experiences, and ideals through their writing. Their poems and films channel their message to someone like me, who is in awe and inspires to be like them, maybe even more.  

Page created on 7/22/2020 9:47:42 AM

Last edited 8/1/2020 6:57:53 AM

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