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Sam Greenlee's Advise To Black Filmmakers: "If You Want To Be A Rich Ho, Move To Hollywood"

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 7, 2012 11:40 AM
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Photo credit: vagabond

Long time readers of S&A will already be familiar with the below video clip of a very frank Sam Greenlee (The Spook Who Sat By The Door) dishing on the state of what we call "black cinema".

And I'm posting it again a year later for those who haven't seen it, as well as a reminder for those who already have. I could post this every year quite frankly, and it still would be topical... until something changes that is.

It fits nicely into the myriad of conversations we've had on S&A, and continue to have. Consider it an addendum to Anthony Mackie's comments last year, and reiterated recently, about black people in Hollywood, which inspired scores of impassioned comments across the blogosphere:

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  • Blackman | March 9, 2014 12:22 AMReply

    This film SPOOKED whites. The people posting negativity below are HACKS of the industry.

  • Solaam | February 8, 2012 7:57 PMReply

    Great video.

  • Miles Maker | February 8, 2012 4:12 AMReply

    Thank you. I needed this.

  • Tamara | February 7, 2012 9:01 PMReply

    Good stuff here.

  • Tamara | February 7, 2012 9:06 PM

    "And if I never made another film, look at the film I made."

  • Neziah | February 7, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    This is one of the most relevant videos I've seen to date.

  • urbanauteur | February 7, 2012 9:06 PM

    I second that;-)

  • Donella | February 7, 2012 3:34 PMReply

    The Spook Who Sat By The Door is a great movie. Well-written, well-acted, amazing story line. For good reasons, it frightened people in the 1970s who attempted to bury it under other blaxploitation releases. I believe that movie still frightens people today, which is why it is seldom seen.

  • Neziah | February 7, 2012 4:01 PM


  • Miles Maker | February 7, 2012 2:29 PMReply

    Hollywood is about leverage. Don't come here with your hand out. Period. Come here with momentum and some value to add to the economic equation or you WILL BE A HO. Period!

    It's time to make something of yourself first before you ask others to make you bigger. There are golden opportunities to advantageously co-exist with the system and retain creative impunity provided you thoroughly understand this business and can manipulate its environment with entrepreneurial savvy. It's not easy, but if you intend to have a long illustrious sustainable career, you'll ultimately engage this thing called Hollywood in some strategic--even if it's simply for reach and exposure.

    Best wishes!

  • NEVER BOUGHT MILES | February 11, 2012 12:43 AM

    Wrong! I'm my own person, and I'm suspecting the same for everyone else here. This shows you have all sorts of people who don't believe you. That's all.

  • Miles Maker | February 11, 2012 12:06 AM

    C4 the truth is we NEVER got paid a dime for the work we did--yet and still that's not why we left the production. Check your facts. To 'Fellow' and 'Don Cornelius' and the others--why hide behind fake usernames? THAT is a fraud. I suspect you're all the same person actually, but who cares.

  • C4 | February 8, 2012 12:44 PM

    Aren't you the same Miles that took money from a young brother who paid you to make his short film and after only one day into production, you quit his film, took your whole crew with you and kept his money? Here, you could've helped and guided him to success. Instead, you burnt him. There's no excuse for such ugly behavior.

  • FELLOW | February 8, 2012 10:48 AM

    Miles, you should run for Congress with all of this flim-flam. I'm sure you're successfully suckling off the teats of many of Hollywood's successful at this very moment. Congrats. I just hope that you're a little more cautious about burning as many bridges there as you have in New York. Food for thought.

  • Miles Maker | February 8, 2012 4:47 AM

    There's nothing fake about going cross country on a Greyhound bus. I'm just me--that includes the failures and setbacks. And no I'm not the most talented or the brightest or the Best at anything. Social marketing is how I pay my bills (not filmmaking) and tweeting is some of the work. As for riding coattails--yes I seek out exceptional Artists and outstanding projects to contribute to and I look for opportunities to learn & grow working for people who know more about this business than I do. I share what I learn while I try my best to apply it for myself. As for being a fraud--a fraud at what exactly? I've only been in the business 7 years. I just know what I know and that's far from everything.

    I'm gonna keep sharing my opinion and it's perfectly okay to disagree but you can't stop me from talking! You can only stop listening.

  • NEVER BOUGHT MILES | February 7, 2012 11:41 PM

    People are finally realizing that Miles Maker is a fake. A talentless, delusional, ass-kisser who jumps from one bandwagon to the next. I was wondering how long people would buy into the fraud. I heard through the community he so desperately feels he is a part of that he is now trying to jump on the Ava DuVernay bandwagon. But she has nothing but horses like War Admiral pulling her wagon and for some reason, poor Miles can't catch up. What a loser!

  • Allison | February 7, 2012 6:21 PM


    According to his Twitter profile he is a "story pusher". But, judging from what he does all day, he looks like a 43 year old that is addicted to social media. Thanks for calling a spade a spade.

  • Don Cornelius | February 7, 2012 5:17 PM

    From what I know, he latches onto people with legitimate, industry careers and spends a great deal of his time online in an effort to make himself look a lot more successful and accomplished than he actually is. See if you can find one thing that he's actually created despite all of his talking about being a content "whatever-he-decides-to-call-himself-this-month."

  • Allison | February 7, 2012 5:09 PM

    Does Miles Maker do anything but Tweet?

  • SMH | February 7, 2012 4:26 PM

    it's people like this that give Kickstarter a bad name.

  • MARK | February 7, 2012 3:57 PM

    Driven LA:

    LOL....Whatever Miles....

  • Don Cornelius | February 7, 2012 3:47 PM

    Is "entrepreneurial savvy" and "momentum" characterized by starting a Kickstarter campaign called "Driven LA" and conning a bunch of people into funding your broke-ass trip out to LA so that you can continue to con people into thinking that you have a bunch of industry clout and authority while continuing your own, thinly-veiled attempt at social climbing and clumsy opportunism?

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