“Everyone, Spike Lee!” announces event organizer Alexandria Nicholson-Dotson ’11. And that’s all the introduction someone like the award-winning director/producer/actor needs.
Lee is on the Hill as part of the Voices of Color Lecture Series. But before taking the podium to address the campus in Wellin Hall, he meets with a group of Hamilton community members. He circulates through the room, doing the meet-and-greet with students, administrators, and faculty and staff members. After being introduced and shaking his hand, President Joan Hinde Stewart takes out her iPhone to snap pictures as Lee continues to make his rounds. Caty Taborda ’11 shakes Lee’s hand as they talk briefly about the time she heard him speak in her hometown of Buffalo. Sokhna Aminata Diop ’11 gives Lee a signed copy of her new novel, The Mirth of College, and Lee promises to “check it out.” Lee even stops to comment on one student’s green sports coat, referring to him as “green jacket.”
As Lee meets more attendees, including members of Utica’s Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program — dedicated to helping high school students remain motivated — the conversation turns to basketball and Lee’s favorite team, the New York Knicks. Sonya Garcia ’11 jumps into the conversation, bringing up the WNBA. “Gotta represent the ladies,” she jokes as she waits in line with the rest of the attendees to take a picture with him. Even before he begins his speech, Lee wins over the audience.