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"Business as Usual": Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled

"Business as Usual": Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled "Business as Usual"1 Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled victoria piehowski In the beginning of Spike Lee's 2000 film Bamboozled lead female character Sloan Hopkins is an articulate and promising young professional. Critic Ray Black has called Sloan the film's "historical conscience," constantly reminding the male protagonists of the implications of their actions.2 By the end of the film, however, we see Sloan stumbling into her boss's office mumbling, "This is Sloan, listen to Sloan day," before losing control of her gun and shooting the film's narrator. How are we to understand a character shift that has baffled critics since the movie came out? A simple acceptance of Lee's inability to create believable female characters does not suffice; after all, Lee has acknowledged his past exclusion of women and stated that he intentionally made Sloan "the most sympathetic and the most intelligent" character in the film.3 Yet critical and casual viewers alike remain clueless as to why Sloan behaves as she does. While demonstrating his racial insight with the nuanced lead male characters of Pierre and Manray, Lee abandons Sloan to the stereotype of a mad black woman. From such a perceptive director this failure is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

"Business as Usual": Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Frontiers Editorial Collective.
ISSN
1536-0334
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Abstract

"Business as Usual"1 Sex, Race, and Work in Spike Lee's Bamboozled victoria piehowski In the beginning of Spike Lee's 2000 film Bamboozled lead female character Sloan Hopkins is an articulate and promising young professional. Critic Ray Black has called Sloan the film's "historical conscience," constantly reminding the male protagonists of the implications of their actions.2 By the end of the film, however, we see Sloan stumbling into her boss's office mumbling, "This is Sloan, listen to Sloan day," before losing control of her gun and shooting the film's narrator. How are we to understand a character shift that has baffled critics since the movie came out? A simple acceptance of Lee's inability to create believable female characters does not suffice; after all, Lee has acknowledged his past exclusion of women and stated that he intentionally made Sloan "the most sympathetic and the most intelligent" character in the film.3 Yet critical and casual viewers alike remain clueless as to why Sloan behaves as she does. While demonstrating his racial insight with the nuanced lead male characters of Pierre and Manray, Lee abandons Sloan to the stereotype of a mad black woman. From such a perceptive director this failure is

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 20, 2012

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