The life of Spike Lee

He'll make history this year as the first black president of the Cannes Film Festival. This is the story of Spike Lee.

Spike Lee, one of the most committed figures in cinema

For more than 30 years he has fought for inclusiveness in cinema and the rights of black people: this is Spike Lee, cult director and activist

Do the Right Thing, The 25th Hour, BlacKkKlansman… so many cult film titles that have hit the headlines in the past 30 years. All are directed by Shelton Jackson Lee, better known as Spike Lee. This year, he will be the first black personality to chair the Cannes Film Festival jury. One of Spike Lee's main motivations was to portray blacks on the screen. "It shocked me never to see black people kissing on the screen. They never made love!", He explained in 1991. Spike Lee was born in 1957 in Atlanta. From a very young age, his mother, a teacher, introduced him to African American art and literature.

"I was only there to fill a quota!"

At 25, he entered film school at New York University with money saved by his grandmother. "I thought I was in my place. But they looked at me as if I was only there to fill a quota!" He laughed in 1991. In 1986, his first feature film Nola Darling does as he pleases wins the Prix de la Jeunesse of the Directors' Fortnight. At 32, his third feature, Do the Right Thing, staged police violence against the black community in New York in the 1980s. At 35, he released a biopic of the controversial activist Malcolm X. In 1993, he marries producer engaged for women's rights Tonya Lewis. Together they will have two children.

"Bush and the Republicans have nothing to do with poor people"

In 2006, Spike Lee made a documentary in the ruins of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Bush and the Republicans have nothing to do with poor people. And in my opinion, the other story that Katrina tells is that a lot of white people have realized that he doesn't care about them either. He doesn't care about poor white people, he analyzed in 2006. In 2015, he organized a march against guns in New York, which he had been fighting for many years. “We have to get out of the tyranny of the NRA and the arms manufacturers. This is where we need to go. And don't vote for politicians who accept money from them."

He's boycotting the Oscars

At 58, he refuses to attend the Academy Awards to protest the lack of black directors and actors in the nominations. He also campaigned for the establishment of quotas. "If we hadn't made all that fuss, I think the Academy wouldn't have made these changes," he said.

In 2018, in his film BlacKkKlansman, he told the true story of a black policeman who had infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan “We wanted to make a connection between a film on a precise time, the beginning of the 1970s, with what is happening today in the world. That’s it, our job, as storytellers, to make that connection for the audience. Too many people have been quiet about what's going on, and I hope this film, BlacKkKlansman will create more conversations about what's going on in this country." If some criticize a scenario that is too politically correct, the film allows him to win the Grand Prix of the Cannes Film Festival and his first Oscar for the Best Adapted Script.