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Imagine a dialogue with a feature filmmaker that only occasionally veers towards the topic of filmmaking. Over the course of 18 films ranging from School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and 25th Hour, Spike Lee has fearlessly addressed the social, cultural and political spectrum of American life and has become an artistic and intellectual commentator as a result.

With director Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow earning the American Dramatic Audience Award (and a distribution deal with Paramount & MTV) at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, 2005 might turn into the year of the pimp.

During a recent speaking engagement at Miami University, Spike offered his pointed opinion on the current fascination with pimps and the nature of the game beyond the streets.

“Gangsta Rap is pathological … and the focus on pimps, I mean you’ve got Pimp Juice. Who came up with the idea of marketing a product named “Pimp Juice”? And then there’s (MTV’s) Pimp My Ride. And Snoop and what’s his name (Don Juan) in the green suits and the goblets. Not to sound like a Republican up here, but…

“But the biggest pimp out there is the NCAA Division I. We tried to get at some of these ideas in He Got Game. You have these so-called student athletes making money for these schools, running up and down the court or on the field, the gridiron — but they can’t get paid for the use of their likenesses or the licensing of their jerseys. That’s a billion dollar industry. Those guys in charge, they’re crooks. I mean why would that kid (USC’s Matt Leinart) that just won the Heisman and the National Championship, why would that kid want to go back and make more money for that system?” (tt clinkscales)