In fact director Spike Lee urged kids to cut school to see his movie, believing that “X” provides just as much (or more) education.
The name ‘Malcolm X’ was a rejection of the ‘Little’ surname (given his family by white slave owners). The X representing the unknown name of his African ancestors and their culture that had been lost during slavery.
To his admirers “X” was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence.
The film had me from the first frame, when we listen to “X” talk about injustice with the American flag burning up in the background.
Perhaps Malcolm X’s message was too vague anf controversial for him to achieve the global respect that Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela both did, their non-violent and anti-apartheid positions are far easier to fathom. In the case of Malcolm X, you have to research to comprehend where he stands, and the film is a good place to start. You really ought to watch Spike Lee’s movie several times, since there’s plenty to digest on first viewing, both history and cinematic flourishes. I’m tempted to watch the 1972 documentary narrated by James Earl Jones, to learn even more.
The original director was going to be Norman Jewison. He withdrew due to outside pressure demanding a black film-maker.
Malcolm X (1992) was the first non-documentary film that was given permission to film in Mecca. The film’s 2nd unit filmed all the scenes at Mecca. Spike Lee did not accompany them because he is not a Muslim; only Muslims are allowed to enter Mecca.