Spike Lee’s “Wake Up” | 2016 Election

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I just came across this video from about a month ago of Spike Lee endorsing Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election. As we’ve discussed, Lee has never shied away from expressing his political opinions, and I think that’s part of my appreciation of him as a person and as a filmmaker. However, I’m sharing the video because it’s a direct reference to School Daze that, for me, evokes a particularly powerful message– not about supporting Bernie Sanders, but rather about Lee’s very clear opinion about the state of our country almost 30 years after the release of the film.

The video opens with Lee walking around a college campus screaming “WAKE UP!” just like Julian at the end of School Daze, and is very clearly a reference to the film and it’s

message. The rest of the video depicts a college campus interwoven with clips of speeches by various politicians about the state of the nation. The reason I found this clip powerful (and you might too, regardless of who you support in the election) was that it asserts the stakes of the election as just as signifiant as those themes explored in School Daze — like divestment from South Africa and also the necessity for the unification of the black community.

Has anyone else seen this video, and if so, why do you think?

Edit: I was just made aware that someone else had posted this video a couple weeks back and somehow I totally missed it. I’m glad both of us thought this was worth sharing.


  1. Not to be confrontational, but rather to answer your question “Has anyone else seen this video, and if so, why do you think?” I posted this video and another one of Lee’s political ads on the blog about two weeks ago if you want to reference it.

  2. @blake199 I honestly had no idea that someone else had already posted this video! I guess I skimmed through the blog a couple weeks back and totally missed it. I came across this video on another website today for the first time. Didn’t mean to disregard your post and I’ll definitely check it out.

  3. @jkagan16 No worries! I think it is an awesome topic and one that should be blogged about more than once! We always talk about how Lee’s films leave us a little bit confused on how we can combat societal change and it is interesting to see him take such an active role in the political process.

  4. Thanks for sharing this (again). I’m not a Bernie supporter and hadn’t seen it before. Personally I don’t like celebrity endorsements in politics. It’s like high school popularity thing and it should not influence who people vote for. Also it was filmed on a cheap camera and lacks professional quality which is surprising

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