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Lee and Njeri, Part 3

July 21, 1991

The foment arising out of the "Jungle Fever" debate has generated an intensely divisive diversity of thoughts. Despite the apparent polarity of views, the communion of Spike Lee and Times staff writer Itabari Njeri lies in truth --his art, her analysis ("Doing the Wrong Thing," June 23; Letters, July 7, 14).

There are flared expectations of the cinema and denial of historical introspection within those very shared truths. Lee's film portrayed current prejudices and preconceptions directly, Njeri's academic expression where they are less likely sought.

She has attempted to move beyond Baldwinian rage toward not only artful passion but productively critical thought. In not segregating entertainment from art, Lee may be thrown into stereotype, viewers into guilt or anger, Njeri into criticism.

Perhaps freedom of individuality is both the greatest fear and challenge.

VALERIE SHIPILOV

South Pasadena

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