Malcolm X

Publishers: Evan Jester, Malachi Rice, and Jose Alvarado Malcolm-X image 2

Thompkins, Gwen. “Malcolm X’s Public Speaking Power.” Uptown Collective, 24 Feb. 2015,

The film, Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee came out on November 18th, 1992. Malcolm X is played by a very well known actor, Denzel Washington. Malcolm X’s father was killed by the KKK which changed his life. He was traumatized by this which led to bad things. He became a gangster and was later arrested. While Malcolm X was incarcerated he found the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches Islam when he gets out of jail and later travels to the city of Mecca where he converts to a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El- Hajj Malik AI-Shabazz. Conceived Malcolm Little, his dad (a Garveyite Baptist serve) was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Malcolm turned into a criminal, and keeping in mind that in prison found the Nation of Islam works of Elijah Muhammad. He lectures the lessons when let out of prison, however later on goes on a journey to the city of Mecca, there he changes over to the first Islamic religion and turns into a Sunni Muslim and changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz. He is killed on February 21, 1965 and kicks the bucket a Muslim saint. In the movie, Malcolm X is played by Denzel Washington. He received a nomination at the Academy awards for his role in the movie. However, Denzel did receive a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture. The movie also got nominated for best costume design as well.

Historical and Cultural Context
Malcolm Little, famously known as Malcolm X was the son of Earl Little who was a minister and an outspoken civil rights activist. So at a young a age Malcolm X and his family had been receiving death threats from white supremacist. At the age of four Malcolm’s family house was burned down to the ground and two years after that his father’s body was lying dead on the trolley tracks. Both incidents were ruled accidents by the police but Malcolm’s family knew it was the white supremacists. After the incidents, Malcolm’s mother Louise Little had a mental breakdown and was forced into a mental institution. This forced Malcolm and his seven brothers and sisters to split up to different foster homes and orphanages. All of this happen in the first six years of a young African American boy’s and clearly affected him to the fullest. Most people don’t know the detrimental events that happened in Malcolm X’s childhood to make him become as violent as he was. Now they see as time went on Malcolm kept those tough memories stored in his head to help motivate him to stand up and fight.
Malcolm X was based on the Civil Rights Movement. With that being said before the film was even fully created there was some was controversies and conflicts preventing it to be produced. Warner Bros, the producers of the movie, argued with Spike Lee about who should be the director. Spike Lee felt it should be a black person and Warner Bros disagreed and a felt a Jewish man should do it. After the arguments they came to an agreement that a black person should direct it and Spike Lee became the official director. After all that Spike Lee received a great deal of backlash about his perspective on Malcolm X by adding some gruesome and touching scenes that people try not to believe actually happen. He didn’t let the outsiders get to him and continued to great the film the way he portrayed Malcolm X.
A few months before Malcolm X was created a Rodney King was beaten by police officers after being pulled over for speeding. Rodney King was obeying and going along with the police officers but still was severely beaten. Spike Lee even went as far to incorporate the frightful Rodney King Beating in the opening of the film which may appear a touch of on the nose yet so critical I couldn’t see the film without it. Since history rehashes itself continually and it never shows signs of change until the point that we need it to change. This is the place Spike Lee holds up the mirror to every one of us and influences us to see the way our general public and culture capacities. Our general public enabled Rodney King to be barbarously beaten on that roadway and we permitted police powers to hammer an iron clench hand in Ferguson this year. I know this may appear to be silly however the way that we enable our general public to work occasions like these happen and will keep on happening With a lot hostility towards Rodney King’s case and the movie, in Los Angeles in 1993 throughout all the protests there were more than 50 killed, over 4 thousand injured, 12,000 people arrested, and $1 billion in property damage.

Malcolm X image 1

Clip of Rodney King’s beating-Holliday, George, director. Rodney King Beating., All Media Worldwide, 1991,

Themes and Styles

The Spike Lee film, Malcolm X, conveys a lot of themes correlates to racial issues that still exist in our world today. One of the main rhetorical methods used in the film is en media res. The film starts with the murder of Rodney King then rewinds back. The director of the movie, Spike Lee, puts this in the movie to remind the viewers that the struggles that Malcolm X is fighting for are far from over. This scene that happens in the beginning of the movie immediately grabs the audience’s attention. Through Malcolm X’s point of view, the audience sees the violence and oppression that still existed even after slavery was abolished. Another theme that is apparent throughout the movie is a feeling of resilience. When times were rough, Malcolm didn’t just lay down and give up. He fought back and stood up for what he believed in. Malcolm’s changing perspectives of America’s racial issues mirror the advancement of his character. At the point when, as a kid, he sees both of his folks decimated by white society, he feels like he should give up about the situation of blacks. His state of mind changes, in any case, after his encounters operating at a profit ghettos of Boston and New York create in him the rationality that black individuals ought not acknowledge assistance from white individuals. The lessons of the Nation of Islam that he gets in jail impact a further change in both Malcolm’s character and his perspective of white individuals. He at the same time relinquishes his wild past and grasps an orderly contempt of whites. His later goes in the Middle East reason another significant change; his break from the American Nation of Islam agrees with his freshly discovered conviction that blacks will be effective in their battle for parallel rights just on the off chance that they relate to persecuted people groups over the globe. His state of mind toward the finish of the work appears differently in relation to his past convictions in that he now bolsters white interest in the battle for dark liberation, while he prior does not. Simply in the wake of going through such a significant number of stages and seeing the race issue from such a large number of alternate points of view is Malcolm ready to settle on a theory in which he genuinely accepts.

Critical Conversation

Other thinkers thought very highly of this movie in terms of the general public. Because of his performance in this film, Denzel Washington received nominations for many different awards. The dramatization of Malcolm’s life and what he went through and what he meant to the Civil Rights movie is what made this movie what it was. One area for critique, according to the general public, was the editing. Many people believe the movie was too long. But, for the most part critics loved the movie. In terms of Malcolm X as a historical figure, people have very conflicting views about him. Malcolm had a “revolutionary” effect of frightening both the establishment and also the oppressed. When Malcolm X spoke about self-defense and sticking up for yourself, whites just heard racial violence. Despite this, he brought to light a legitimate concept of physical self-preservation. Malcolm’s intentions were good, but people saw them differently. He frightened and antagonized Caucasians and he frightened and threatened the white and black power elites. He was the left hook to Martin Luther King’s right cross. Even before the film came out, it had trouble making it to the big screen. Even when the movie was released, it was released in the wake of the riots which erupted in LA following the brutal police beating of Rodney King. It arrived in a harsh, post-civil rights movement climate of right-wing fundamentalism. This made the movie even more controversial. The movie basically emerged from an extension of conversations in the 80s and also early 90s about Afrocentric politics and populist black nationalism.

Works Cited

“Awards.” IMDb,,

Canby, Vincent. “Review/Film; ‘Malcolm X,’ as Complex as Its Subject.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Nov. 1992,

Clark, Ashley. “Malcolm X: Spike Lee’s Biopic Is Still Absolutely Necessary.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 Feb. 2015,

Collins, Austin K. “How Spike Lee and Denzel Washington Turned ‘Malcolm X’ Into a Hollywood Epic.” The Ringer, 22 Nov. 2017.

Ebert, Roger. “Malcolm X Movie Review & Film Summary (1992) | Roger Ebert.”, 18 Nov. 1992,

Further Readings

Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd ed., vol. 10, Gale, 2004. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.

Hoyt, Charles Alva. “The Five Faces of Malcolm X.” Negro American Literature Forum, vol. 4, no. 4, 1970, pp. 107–112. JSTOR, JSTOR,

“Spike Lee.”, A&E Networks Television, 19 Jan. 2018,

V. P. Franklin. “INTRODUCTION: REFLECTIONS ON THE LEGACY OF MALCOLM X.” The Journal of African American History, vol. 98, no. 4, 2013, pp. 562–564. JSTOR, JSTOR,

Civil Rights Movement, Earl Little, Black Activist, Assassination, Racial Violence, Tragic Hero, Police Brutality