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Crack Head Lee- Spike Lee’s crackhead younger brother

March 26, 2008

Spike’s Joint Grand Opening 1990392 Clinton ave

Now let me preface this story by saying I have nothing but respect for fellow Brooklynite Spike Lee. He’s done a lot of good things as far as representing the neighborhood and Brooklyn as a whole.  You could watch “She’s Gotta Have It” on mute and still appreciate the shots of neighborhood; literally art in motion. Not too many cinematographers would be able to capture the beauty and character of the neighborhood the way it was done in “She’s Gotta Have It”(And it was shot in black and white!).  But being a talented, rich, director/cinematographer does not exempt you from dealing with the problems that plague many in this borough and citywide.  There’s a saying in certain communities around the city and it goes…”Every family has atleast ONE”(1 dope fiend, crackhead, or alcoholic, get the picture).  And unfortunately the Lee family is not any different!

              1990, the number. Another summer…It’s summer time in the city(crime and crack ruled) and a few friends and I had just made 25.00 for a few hours work, slipping flyers under doors for one of the local politicians(I can’t remember if it was Roger Green or Ed Towns). It was one of those bright Brooklyn days, everybody was out seemingly in a festive mood. We posted up on top of the stoop at 392 Clinton ave and began plotting our day.  Okay, we would chip in 2.50 a piece to get us a nickelbag of skunk, get a 40 ounce of malt liquor, then head over to St.James Towers to kick it with a few shorties(young ladies) we had crushes on. The thinking was that after hanging with them for a few, we’d convince them to come on our side to get a bite to eat at…Where else?! The Cunny House(see post#2)! These plans would change in an instant once we saw a certain someone headed up Clinton ave, coming from Lafayette towards Greene ave.

           Now let me backtrack a bit. Earlier in the summer Spike Lee opened a store in Fort Greene named Spike’s Joint. The store sold merchandise that was garnished with the titles of his movies and film company 40 acres and a mule. I liked some of the shirts and particularly the baseball caps but at 20.00 a pop for a hat and 15.00 for a t-shirt, the clothing was too exorbitant for my pockets. Previously you would only see people that worked on his movies with this gear or people that moved in certan social circles.

          Back to 392 Clinton ave. We look up the block and we see a guy in a red “Mo’ Betta Blues” baseball cap and “Do The Right Thing” t-shirt on with a bag in his hand. He was short, pigeon toed, walking like he was on mission. Even from afar he bore a slight resemblance to one of Brooklyn’s most famous directors; even more so upon inspection as he came closer except his nose was slightly bigger and face looked like rocky road ice cream. When he got in front of the building the conversation went something like this:

 Me: What’s up man?

Crack Head Lee:(eyes wide as 50 cent pieces) huh…

Me: Whats up

CHL: (in a low voice) oh what’s up…ya’ll got work(crack)?

My Friend: How much are you spending?!

CHL: Well…see uhh I have these clothes and I was gonna ask…

Me:(excited) Where are the clothes from?!!

CHL: Spikes Joint, I have two hats and six shirts.

My friend: That’s messed up man

Me:(piggy backing on my homie) Yeah thats real fucked up

CHL: What are you talkin’ ’bout?

Me: You think we don’t know, who you are…your brother opened a store and your gonna steal…

CHL: Listen man I gotta go…I’m tryin’ to get..

My friend: We’re tryin’ to get high

Me: So check it if you go up the block they’re going to give you 3-4 jacks tops(street value $15-$20)

My friend: or they might take it from you…we’ll give you $30 for the whole bag!

CHL:(eyes wider) Okay, I’ll take dat

My friend and I:(laughter) I bet you will!!

So with that the plans for the day changed(as well as our outfits, after a cool shower we put the new gear on immediately). Instead of The Country House the shorties had to settle for Luigi’s Pizza on DeKalb. And that very day we realized that what was just a saying in our minds had to just come to fruition…”There’s one in every family”…Even the family of a critically lauded award winning director. This was the first of few encounters with CHL. I want to end this by saying I am not insensitive nor am I making light of people that have addictions, it’s a problem.  But we crossed paths in life and I should be able to speak on it.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Disappointed permalink
    March 27, 2008 12:34 am

    My man, what’s the point of calling out other people’s old family business?
    That’s disrespectful and foul.

  2. bknesto permalink
    March 27, 2008 1:14 am


    With all due respect, did you even read my post?! I’m not disrespecting Spike or the Lee family but if you read the 1st post on this blog, I tell you what I’m going to give you. Unfortunately this shit is/was reality that crossed paths in my life. Should I not speak about it because it was Spike Lee’s brother?!
    EVERY crackhead, dopefiend, etc. is someones father, brother, son or mother, sister, daughter. God gave us 2 ears and one mouth, now should we do more yappin’ or listening?
    You do the math….


  3. truth permalink
    March 27, 2008 5:08 am

    Disapointed, he speaks the truth does that hurt? Have you ever listend to a crackhead story? Have you ever ate dinner with a crackhead? Well i have, other family business helps other people cope with their family’S business.


  4. Frank permalink
    March 27, 2008 12:47 pm

    I disagree with Disappointed. This is merely a factual account of the reality of the neighborhood during that time and I for one thank Clintonhillchill for telling it and launching this site. We should not forget the rich history of the neighborhood we all call home today! Kudos ClintonhillChill!

  5. DowningbyLaw permalink
    March 27, 2008 2:28 pm

    CHC- so far I like the direction and vantage point you are bringing to the bk blog arena its refreshing.
    Now got any stories about a certain Simmons brother who owns a gallery on grand-wasn’t he crackin for a while?

  6. March 27, 2008 3:52 pm

    the only thing i’d be worried about is getting sued by spike! he can be notoriously humorless. keep these stories coming! and what’s with the Spike’s Joint photo? when was it taken? looks like a still from one of his movies!

  7. '93Technite permalink
    March 27, 2008 4:08 pm

    I went to tech during those times and bought an “All That” hat. Pricey compared to starters and the baseball hats sold by the local Korean shop. BK, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill was rough back then. No joke. People got jumped all the time when it got dark. This area was not a spot to be at when the sun set. Even the train ride home was crazy. Decepts-decepticons, and all the other NYC gangs were ramped. Clinton Hill Chill- speak on Bruh.

  8. bknesto permalink
    March 27, 2008 4:59 pm

    The post isn’t meant to be humor. If people find hunor in it fine. But at the end of the day, it’s real life! The pic is from 1990, opening day for Spike’s Joint.

  9. bianca permalink
    March 27, 2008 6:31 pm

    Wheer exactly was his store? BTW, love your blog!

  10. March 27, 2008 7:30 pm

    You can definitely tell that pic is from that era! Check out the gear on everyone in the pic!

    Great post, CHC. Keep them coming.

  11. Perch permalink
    March 27, 2008 8:54 pm

    More! This shit is great.

  12. March 28, 2008 1:38 am

    Disappointed?…Just because YOU think this was “foul” lol says alot about your character. You must think we’re poking fun because of the nature of the story, but its merely reporting the obvious truth…”real life!” Unlike YOU, we choose to address reality.

    -Keep talking cuzo, love the blog!!!

  13. Brudda B permalink
    March 28, 2008 5:46 pm

    Bianca, Carol’s Daughter is there now.

  14. Vanessa Bell permalink
    December 8, 2008 4:26 am

    No need to apologize. what your saying is true. Most families do have at least one family member addicted to a drug, My faMILY IS no exception.

  15. February 24, 2009 4:57 am

    Dope ass post.


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  3. 162. Crack Head Lee- Spike Lee’s crackhead younger brother

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