Ends on

To honor the 35th anniversary of American masterpiece Do The Right Thing this year, we're dedicating an entire issue to director, screenwriter, actor, and inveterate New York Knicks apostle, Spike Lee.

For nearly 40 years, Spike Lee Joints have challenged, evolved, and changed the face of cinema, a singularly fearless and atomic filmography that has defied stereotypes, embraced topics as controversial as they are necessary, explored genre filmmaking with the same vitality and energy with which it has crafted fiery sociopolitical masterworks, and portrayed with a richness and vivid verisimilitude the Black experience of the 20th and 21st centuries.

From She’s Gotta Have It to Summer of Sam, from Mo’ Better Blues to Bamboozled, from Malcolm X to BlacKkKlansman, from Clockers to Da 5 Bloods, Lee’s is a body of work unlike any other, and has run the gamut from biographical epics, musical comedy, romance pictures, crime thrillers, social dramas, satire, sports flicks, documentaries, remakes, and war films. His is a vision as distinct as it is essential, a quintessentially American wolf-whistle of joy and rage and humor in times of darkness and silence.

There is, quite simply, no one else doing it like Spike.

For our month of Lee, we’re seeking essays and voices tackling any and all of his films, his performances, his writings, his impact on cinema and culture. Don’t be afraid to go big or go niche—we’re looking for writing as risky and daring as The Man himself. An entire piece on how He Got Game is an adaptation of the New Testament? We’re down. Jungle Fever is the most underrated romance of the ‘90s? We’re listening. A career-long exploration of his collaborations with Denzel Washington? Hit us with it. The dizzying impact of his Nike commercials and his music videos? We gotta have it. We want it all. Because there will never, and can never, be enough writing on one of the very best to ever do it.

And that’s the truth, Ruth.

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The fine print:

We are currently able to pay $100 (upon publication) for essays accepted via Submittable. Please be aware that all acceptances are based on the presumption of the writer's good-faith engagement with our collaborative editorial process; a refusal to participate in this process may result in rescinded acceptance. In order to be considered for the issue we will need to receive a complete first draft of your essay via Submittable by July 20, 2024.

Please be advised that given the high volume of interest for what’s typically 8 - 10 publication slots in a month, and to level the playing field between emerging and established voices, we rely partially on Submittable in finding essays for each issue, and we do ask for full first drafts for consideration (pitches sent to Submittable are often seen too late to be considered). 

We completely understand that for many writers, working on spec is too much of an expenditure of time and energy for an uncertain result. For that reason, we’re happy to accept e-mailed pitches via editors@brightwalldarkroom. Please include: a rundown of the idea, a projected word count (we usually publish work between 2,000 and 4,000 words), a sense of what makes it a great fit for BW/DR (usually some distinctive form or offbeat focus that would set it apart from outlets more focused on news and reviews), and links to pieces published at outlets with editorial oversight

On pitches, we will offer a solid yes or no by the submission deadline (7/15/24); please keep in mind that a rejection may represent a range of reasons unrelated to the quality of your work—given our roster of regular contributors and our desire to save a few slots each month for Submittable discoveries, pitching is, for better or worse, a fairly competitive prospect!

Before submitting, please make sure to familiarize yourself with the types of essays we tend to publish, and make sure to check our archives to make sure we haven't covered the film you hope to write about within the last calendar year (we even have an alphabetized database of every film we've covered under the "Films" tab for extra convenience).

And last but certainly not least: for additional and detailed information on our general submission process, guidelines, and editorial preferences, please see The Bright Wall/Dark Room Guide to Pitching & Submitting.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.