Spike Lee has undoubtedly inspired many up-and-coming black filmmakers; specifically, his role in the independent film circuit and his penchant for addressing race relations in a no-nonsense way has earned him critical acclaim and respect. Much like celebrities who have such a strong personality that they are perfect candidates for comedian impersonations, Lee’s work is strongly identifiable. You know a “Spike Lee Joint” when you see it.
Cue actor and creator Richie Loco (born Richard Nevels).
Coupled with a richly appropriate jazz tune in the background, the 33-year-old creator has incorporated Lee’s famous “double dolly shot” into various self-isolation scenarios: everyday life deeds such as brushing teeth, taking out the trash...he even did the Wiz Khalifa x Ty Dolla $ign “Something New” TikTok dance challenge, which made me guffaw.
The bed with the pillows is the most inspired, in my opinion. The bed is art.
Because the video entertained me so much, I had to reach out to the man himself. Clearly inspired by the pint-sized Oscar winner the first natural question to ask Richie was his favorite “Spike Lee Joint.”
“That’s a tough one because Spike has produced and directed so many classics, it’s really an unfair question,” Richie told The Root. “However, if I had to choose I’m going to go with Crooklyn. No, Malcolm X. But, I can’t forget about Do The Right Thing or Mo’ Better Blues. I can’t choose.”
Naturally, inquiring minds wanted to know, “How did he pull it off?” I was assuming he didn’t have a whole professional camera dolly set-up in his house.
“A magician never reveals his secrets but luckily for you, I’m not a magician,” Richie quipped. “I used a hoverboard and a selfie stick to shoot. I shot that sketch completely by myself. I almost died a few times filming the scenes where I was asleep.”
Haha! We love the dedication.
Much like Keara Wilson’s #SavageChallenge, Richie has proven just how significant black creators are in the social media space. Seriously, I don’t know how many of us would have the quantity of much-needed entertainment and escapism we do during this self-isolation period if it weren’t for black creators.
“Black creators shape the internet’s culture [and] I don’t think social media would have the influence it does without black creators,” Richie noted. “I think it’s very important that we continue to use our platforms to not only show how creative we are but to tell our stories our way.”
“My whole life I brought people laughter because I always knew its importance,” he continued, noting how he was inspired by comedians such as Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Adam Sandler. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received messages from people telling me how my comedy has gotten them through the toughest of times. Right now we all need an escape and I can’t think of a better way than laughter.”
As for what’s next for Richie, he has a few undisclosed projects in the works, but what he can tell us is that he’ll be appearing in the upcoming season of Insecure.
Art inspired by Spike isn’t the only recent Lee-related thing on social media, by the way. The man himself recently joined Twitter for a live-tweet session of his 1988 film School Daze, which is now on Netflix.
He offered some fun trivia, including the fact that the film inspired A Different World, not the other way around, despite the release dates (the TV show was released in 1987).
“For [the] record. School Daze was shot before [A] Different World. Robbi Reed cast both. Bill Cosby jacked us,” the director tweeted.
Also, Lee will be signing a limited supply of The Criterion Collection Blu-ray and DVD of Do The Right Thing. You can purchase a copy and other items via his Shopify account.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.