March 31, 2000
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—A series of open workshops and a talk by filmmaker Spike Lee will be the highlights of a daylong symposium on "Black Representation in the Media" at Amherst College on Saturday, April 8. Spike Lee will speak at 8 p.m. in LeFrak Gymnasium. Lee’s talk and all other symposium events are free and open to the public.

Margaret Vendryes, visiting assistant professor of black studies and fine arts at Amherst College, will lead a workshop on "Advertising and the Creation of ‘Blackness’" from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Webster Center Room 220.

"The Commodification of Hip-Hop" will be explored in a workshop led by Guy Johnson (Amherst College ’99), producer of the hip-hop magazine One Love, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Drew House Common Room.

Sut Jhally, founder of the Media Education Foundation and professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts, will discuss "Why America Can't Think Straight About Race" in a workshop from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Gerald Penny Memorial Black Cultural Center in the Octagon.

A mixed-media exhibit will explore "Multiracial Lives and Multiracial Media" from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Keefe Campus Center Rooms 201 and 207. A discussion will follow at 9:30 p.m., led by the Students of Mixed Heritage at Amherst. An exhibit devoted to "Blacks in the News" will be on display from noon to 8 p.m. in the Gerald Penny Memorial Black Cultural Center in the Octagon. A discussion at 6 p.m. will be led by members of Drew House.

Some of Spike Lee’s films will be screened in conjunction with the symposium. Jungle Fever will be shown on Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Keefe Campus Center Frontroom. This film is free; an exhibit, discussion and reception to follow will be hosted by the Students of Mixed Heritage at Amherst College. Summer of Sam will play on April 6 at 9 p.m.; April 7 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.; April 8 at 10 p.m.; and April 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Theater. Admission is $2 a person.

The symposium is sponsored by the Charles Drew Memorial Black Culture House at Amherst College, and also by the Amherst College Programming Board, Amherst Students Acting Politically, the Black Women's Group, the Film and Video Association, the Lectureship Committee, the Student Government Organization, and Students of Mixed Heritage.

The Amherst College President’s Office, Alumni Office, Affirmative Action Office, Dean of Housing, Dean of Students, Frost Library, and the departments of black studies, English, political science and sociology provided support.

Additional support was provided by Five Colleges, Inc., the Hampshire College James Baldwin Scholars, Hampshire College Umoja, the Mt. Holyoke College MHACASA, and the UMass Film Society.

For more information contact Eli Bromberg at the Charles Drew House at 413/542-4253, or at For more information on Spike Lee, click here.