L’Damian Washington and Marvin Foster respond to ‘2 Fists Up’
Washington: “I don’t think it painted the best picture of the Mizzou that I experienced at Mizzou, but that was my experience.”
Apr. 07, 2016
After watching Spike Lee’s “2 Fists Up: We Gon Be Alright” film debut Wednesday night at the Missouri Theatre, L’Damian Washington was a little torn.
On one hand, the former Missouri wide receiver thought the film “did a great job” of capturing the events that unfolded at MU last fall. In the film, Lee set out to examine “how the Black Lives Matter movement sparked activism at the University of Missouri, its football team and across of the rest of the United States,” and in detailing everything from the Concerned Student 1950 protests to Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike to the Missouri football boycott, Washington thought it did that.
On the other hand, though, Washington thought more emphasis should have been placed on the protesters’ backgrounds.
“I don’t think it painted the best picture of the Mizzou that I experienced at Mizzou, but that was my experience,” Washington said. “I can’t speak for every black student on campus, but my experience wasn’t like the ones shown in the film.”
“Maybe some people knew that I was L’Damian or whatever it was (and that’s why my experience was different),” Washington said. “I’ve been called the N-word on this campus, but I grew up in Shreveport. I think a point that’s missing is that kids that come to Mizzou come from suburb homes where they went to a mixed school, but in Louisiana, it’s still kind of segregated in a sense. When I got here, I thought this was way better than anything I dealt with, so for me, it wasn’t as dramatic or traumatic because I dealt with it all my life.”
Nearly 800 people filled their seats as the clock hit 8 p.m. Interim UM System President Mike Middleton and Lee took the stage to introduce the film.
After a little back-and-forth, Lee took the microphone in a serious manner saying, “Let’s hope that this piece, with all the other things happening on campus, that it sparks really serious conversation so things can work out.”
His former teammate, Marvin Foster, called the film “inspirational.”
“It opened my eyes,” Foster said. “They said it in the film, but we (football players) were so consumed with football and school and trying to have somewhat of a social life that we weren’t open to experiences that were portrayed on the screen. It was eye-opening.”
Both Foster and Washington sat next to the film’s producer and director, Marquis Daisy, Wednesday night. Daisy is a friend, Washington said, and he also produced and directed “Tigers United,” the SEC Network film released this fall featuring Foster, Washington and former Missouri Tiger Michael Sam.
“I thought Spike did a great job, and Marquis Daisy, who was a co-producer,” Washington said. “I think they did a really good job at covering everything. They did a good job showing what it took to get the football team to have a stand and the football team dealt with some controversy after it, but I thought overall they did a great job at covering the whole thing.”
But covering is one thing and the takeaway is another.
As the first public screening and director’s cut hourlong edition of the 22-minute digital short that’ll be debuting as part of Spike Lee’s “Lil’ Joints” series on May 31, that’s the most vaunted question.
For Foster, it was fairly simple.
“Mizzou’s enrollment numbers are down, so people see that this is an issue,” Foster said. “What I would want the nation to take away from this is that this is a nationwide issue. The takeaway is to open your eyes and see it’s a little bit harder for us out here and it’s hard for our white peers to see their white privilege.”
Edited by Elizabeth Loutfi | firstname.lastname@example.org