Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is set in the 1970s, but it still feels ‘very relevant’ for Ron Stallworth

The events depicted in Spike Lee’s new movie “BlacKkKlansman” took place four decades ago, yet the film feels relevant as ever.

That’s because the crime drama — based on the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American detective who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late…

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Spike Lee: ‘BlacKKKlansman Should Be Shown in the White House’ [Video]

If it was up to legendary filmmaker Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman, his latest film to date, would be screened in Donald Trump’s executive mansion.

The new film takes place in the 1970s and is based on the real-life experiences of Ron Stallworth, the first African American detective to join the Colorado Springs police force. In addition to facing a number of racial barriers, Stallworth managed to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan as an undercover and befriend former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke through a series of phone conversations. To complete the operation, Stallworth worked with his partner, a Jewish cop played by Adam Driver in the movie, who pretends to be him at KKK meetings.

Like many Spike Lee joints, the overarching theme of BlacKkKlansman underscores the prevalence of racism and the ongoing fight for racial equality. It opens with scenes from Birth of A Nation, a notorious silent picture released in 1915 that glorified the Klan and demonized black men. The controversial drama has been deemed a classic American film and was even screened for then-President Woodrow Wilson along with members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Birth of a Nation was shown in the White House. Woodrow Wilson saw it and he said it was like ‘writing history with lightning,’” Lee told Black Enterprise. “I think BlacKkKlansman should be shown in the White House—and make sure you put Jeff Sessions in the front row because there are certain things that people are wearing [in the film] that he might be in possession of!” Lee joked, apparently making a reference to the robes worn by Klansmen.

Blackkklansman John David Washington

(Courtesy of Focus)

Telling A Part of History

The context of the movie is so surreal that Lee admitted that he had a hard time believing it was true, himself. In fact, when BlacKkKlansman producer Jordan Peele told him about the story, Lee initially thought about Dave Chappelle’s popular black KKK member sketch. Nonetheless, he pounced on the opportunity to create a film about a remarkable piece of American history that few Americans know about.

To tell the story, Lee cast John David Washington, the son of Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, for the lead role as Stallworth. “I just knew he could do it. I just offered him the part. He didn’t have to do a read for it. He didn’t have to do a tape [or] audition,” said the movie director. “I know talent when I see it. Many people have got their first roles in my films over the last 30 years,” he said, noting Halle Berry and Rosie Perez.

Washington, who graduated from an HBCU, says that he, too, was surprised when Lee told him about Stallworth’s story. “I went to Morehouse, class of ’06, so I learned a lot about my culture and our history [but] this one kind of slipped through the cracks,” he said.

The 32-year-old actor added that working on the film changed his perspective about police, especially those of color, and he hopes it will change how they are viewed by society as well. “I had no idea what it was like to be an African American cop and I’m hoping people will get the chance to see what it’s like with this film,” said the star of HBO’s Ballers. “We need to start celebrating more men and women that look like us that are police and are doing their job correctly. It’s a thankless job.” When asked if he felt anxious or excited for his father to see the movie, he cooly responded, “I hope he likes it.”

“Wake Up!”

BlacKkKlansman takes several jabs at President Trump and ends with a powerful scene that suggests that race relations in the U.S. are getting worse. It also includes a handful of scenes with the words “wake up,” a signature expression in Lee’s work.

“My most famous phrase for all my films is ‘wake up.’ School Days—that film came out in 1988—ends with Laurence Fishburne saying ‘wake up.’  Do the Right Thing (1989) begins with Samuel L. Jackson saying ‘wake up,’” he proclaimed. The term “woke—that’s that new sh-t. We were saying ‘wake up’ in ’88!”

 

BlacKkKlansman will be released in theaters Aug. 10, 2018.

The post Spike Lee: ‘BlacKKKlansman Should Be Shown in the White House’ [Video] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Jordan Peele Joins Forces with Spike Lee for ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (TRAILER)

blackkklansman

Academy Award-winning director Jordan Peele was enlisted to be the producer on BlacKkKlansman, a forthcoming Spike Lee joint. It is a ’70s-set feature about a Black detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan starring John David Washington, Adam Driver and Topher Grace. The script was written by Lee, Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, and it is based […]

The post Jordan Peele Joins Forces with Spike Lee for ‘BlacKkKlansman’ (TRAILER) appeared first on EBONY.

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Tragedy Forced Spike Lee To Rewrite ‘BlacKkKlansman’

(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France (AP) — Spike Lee is holding court on the sunbaked rooftop terrace of the Cannes Film Festival hub, the Palais des Festivals, doing his best Peter O’Toole impression.

A passionate cinephile, Lee’s likes to punctuate his points with movie references or classic stand-up lines or sports metaphors. When it’s suggested to him that his furious statement on race in Donald Trump’s America, “BlacKkKlansman,” has rocked Cannes like nothing else at this year’s festival, he smiles.

“Did you ever see one of the greatest films that was ever made? David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’” says Lee before raising his voice to a sonorous battle cry.

“Taaaaaake nooooo prisoners!”

For even a filmmaker who has seldom pulled punches when it comes to straight taking — what he would call “da truth, Ruth” — “BlacKkKlansman” is a haymaker. The film, which is in competition for Cannes’ Palme d’Or, is the true-life tale of an African-American police detective Ron Stallworth (played in the film by John David Washington, son of Denzel), who in 1979 infiltrated a Colorado Springs, Colorado, cell of the Ku Klux Klan.

Introduced to the project by producer Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), Lee made what he knew would be a commentary on race in America. Then, during a summer weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, he saw his film run directly up to present day. On the TV was news of the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent in clashes with counter-protesters. Anti-racism activist Heather Heyer was run over and killed.

Former KKK leader David Duke, who’s played by Topher Grace in “BlacKkKlansman,” was part of the rally. After it, President Donald Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence. For Lee, it was a “defining moment” for Trump and the United States. (In a press conference in Cannes on Tuesday, he blasted the president in a passionate, expletive-filled monologue.)

Lee decided to end “BlacKkKlansman” with footage from Charlottesville (he sought and received permission from Heyer’s mother) and of Trump’s speech. The film concludes with the image of an upside-down black-and-white American flag.

“Those terrorist groups wrote themselves into the film,” Lee said in an interview. “The real-life David Duke wrote himself into the film. The president of the United States wrote himself into the film. They gave us an ending we’re not good enough to write.”

Focus Features will release the film in August on the anniversary of Charlottesville.

“Take the past and make it present was the real approach Spike and I wanted to take with it,” says co-writer Kevin Willmott. “And unfortunately, the events of today just presented themselves. They’ve taken the past and brought it back to the present.”

Many in the cast were surprised by the film’s unscripted conclusion. Asked when he found out, Washington replies: “Uh, when I saw it. And it messed me up. I was emotional. I was fighting (tears) back.”

Washington has known Lee since his father, one of Lee’s favorite leading men, made “Malcolm X” with him and the younger Washington had a small role. But as to the first time they met, Lee lights up and mimics cradling a baby. “BlacKkKlansman” is a breakthrough for the 33-year-old Washington, a former professional football player.

The cast is filled with what Lee calls “new blood” — actors he hasn’t worked with before. Among them is Adam Driver, who plays Stallworth’s Jewish partner. Driver calls Lee’s revision “a testament to his movies’ unpredictability.”

“And it’s like how he directs on set — following your impulses. He’s worked with most of the same crew members since ‘Do the Right Thing,’” Driver said. “That’s what I like about his movies. They’re filled with an energy that you never know what’s going to happen.”

“BlacKkKlansman” is also, in part, about the influence movies can have. It begins with the flying Confederate flag of “Gone With the Wind” and shows the Klan members enthralled by D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.” But it also captures characters lovingly discussing “Shaft” and “Superfly.”

“Here’s the first time I really realized what a movie can do. I went to see a Bruce Lee film on 42nd Street, and when people came out of there, people were doing flying kicks all over the sidewalk,” says Lee with a karate chop of his own.” And it clicked for me: That is a power.”

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Spike Lee Will Direct Sony’s Next ‘Spider-Man’ Spin-Off, ‘Nightwatch’

Spike Lee Will Direct Sony's Next 'Spider-Man' Spin-Off, 'Nightwatch'

While presently sharing Spider-Man with Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony is on a mission to mine all its other superhero options. So far, the studio has greenlit movies focused on former Spidey villain Venom (this fall's Venom) and a team-up between Black Cat and Silver Sable (2019's Silver & Black), with a Morbius: The Living Vampire film supposedly in the wings. Now they're looking to develop a standalone feature for Nightwatch, another Spidey-verse supporting…

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Spike Lee on Casey Affleck’s Rise and Nate Parker’s Fall: ‘It Was a Dirty, Low-Down Shame’

Those who’ve consumed his biography—or taken in the lovely film Southside with You—know that, were it not for the work of Spike Lee, an associate attorney at the Chicago-based law firm Sidley & Austin may not have granted a second date to their summer intern in ‘89.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Spike Lee, Jordan Peele Team for ‘Black Klansman’ Thriller

Spike Lee and Jordan Peele will team for Black Klansman, a thriller based on the true story of an African-American police officer that infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.

Lee will direct the film with Peele's Monkeypaw Productions and Blumhouse

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: Spike Lee, Jordan Peele Team for ‘Black Klansman’ Thriller

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Spike Lee’s Crooklyn Voted #OneFilmNY Winner By NYC Residents

The Big Apple has spoken. Crooklyn has been voted winner of the “One Film, One New York” contest by Empire City residents.

“One Film, One New York” offered locals the opportunity to choose which New York related film would be screened free of cost at various locations throughout the metropolitan area. Spike Lee’s 1994 drama won the inaugural award beating out On the Town (1949), New York, New York, (1977), Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and The Wedding Banquet (1993).

Crooklyn is a semi-autobiographical look at the iconic director’s family going up in Brooklyn in the 1970’s. Lee and his siblings released a formal statement regarding the victory.

Crooklyn was written by my younger siblings Joie, Cinque Lee and I. It’s a semi-bio story of our family – the Lees growing up in the pre-gentrified black and Puerto Rican hood of Fort Greene in ‘Da Republic of Brooklyn’ during the early ’70s. More than anything, Crooklyn is a love letter to our long-gone mother, Jacquelyn Shelton Lee. Our mom died of cancer of the liver at the too-young age of 41, didn’t smoke either. Crooklyn was the way we grieved and at the same time celebrated her brief but bold life. The Lee family thanks everyone who voted for Crooklyn; the support actually started May 13th, 1994, the day of its release. Also shout-out to the other great films too in #OneFilmNY.”

The movie will be shown on Wednesday, September 13. The screening location list can be found here. You can view the original trailer below.

Congrats to Spike on the much-deserved win. Let’s hope the Netflix version of She’s Got To Have It lives up to the original classic.

[Editor’s Note: speaking of classic…]

Photo: Getty

The post Spike Lee’s <i>Crooklyn</i> Voted #OneFilmNY Winner By NYC Residents appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

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Spike Lee Announces Rally For Colin Kaepernick at NFL Headquarters

Director Spike Lee announced Tuesday he will host a rally supporting unsigned quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the National Football League's New York headquarters on August 23rd. 

Lee tweeted about the event with the slogan "united we stand" superimposed over the image of Kaepernick famously kneeling in

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: Spike Lee Announces Rally For Colin Kaepernick at NFL Headquarters

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Here’s An Update On Spike Lee’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Netflix Series Featuring Nola Darling

There’s been plenty of chatter surrounding Spike Lee’s upcoming Netflix revival of She’s Gotta Have It. Released nearly 30 years ago, the film narrated the life of an attractive 20-something Brooklynite who explores many facets of life like living a sexually liberated lifestyle, exercising the power of choice as a woman, and her career. And now, it’s […]

The post Here’s An Update On Spike Lee’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Netflix Series Featuring Nola Darling appeared first on MadameNoire.

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Netflix Launches #FirstTimeISawMe Campaign With Ava Duvernay, Spike Lee & More

Netflix has launched a new campaign that brings into to focus the streaming content network’s aim to bring diversity and equal representation across all races and cultures on screen. Included in the #FirstTimeISawMe effort are notable stars and figures such as Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee and Marlon Wayans among others.

The #FirstTimeISawMe campaign ties directly with the network’s original programming schedule of late, which prominently features women and actors of color in a wide variety of roles. With Davis, DuVernay, Lee, and Wayans speaking at length on how they’ve been able to see themselves in entertainers that inspire them while also providing the same inspiration to others via Netflix’s platform and beyond.

Orange Is The New Black’s Selenis Leyva and Jackie Cruz, Dear White People’s Marque Richardson and Logan Browning also share their perspectives.

Use the social media tag #FirstTimeISawMe to join the conversation in the digital space.

Watch Ava DuVernay’s segment below. Hit the flip for Spike Lee and Marlow Wayans on the flip.

Photo: screen cap

The post Netflix Launches #FirstTimeISawMe Campaign With Ava Duvernay, Spike Lee & More appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

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LGBTQ Suicide Hotline Calls from Transgender Youth Spike Under Trump

The number of calls, texts and online chats made by transgender youth has more than doubled in the wake of President Trump's tweet about banning transgender service members and the announcement of the Texas "bathroom bill," according to a report recently released by The Trevor Project, a national organization that offers crisis

This article originally appeared on www.rollingstone.com: LGBTQ Suicide Hotline Calls from Transgender Youth Spike Under Trump

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Spike Lee, Regina Hall, and Other Black Stars Kick Off the 2017 American Black Film Festival (ABFF)

ABFF

The 21st annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) kicked off on Wednesday, with an exclusive media luncheon, a networking mixer, and the world premiere of Girls Trip.

For the last two decades, ABFF has been a cornerstone, multiday convention, which celebrates black excellence in film and television. When it was first launched by Jeff Friday in 1997, the festival was held in Acapulco, Mexico. However, the festival has since convened in Miami for the last 13 years.

This year, the festival began with the Cadillac Media Luncheon, where Cadillac Global Human Resources Director Tonya Hallett emphasized Cadillac’s commitment to supporting initiatives like ABFF, which showcase the talent of black filmmakers, actors, producers, and rising stars.

Also present at the luncheon was actress Regina Hall, who is this year’s ABFF brand ambassador. In an interview, Hall told BLACK ENTERPRISE that she was thrilled about being a brand ambassador on behalf of ABFF and was excited for the premiere of her new movie Girls Trip.

 


 

In addition to the good food, drinks, and music, the luncheon included a candid conversation between Spike Lee, a legendary filmmaker, and Kenny Gravillis, a graphic designer, about their work in the industry.

The very outspoken Lee didn’t mince words when addressing the importance of black people being “in the room” with those making decisions on whether or not to greenlight a film, and when corporations are determining how to best target people of color. Lee explained that when people of color are absent, companies run the risk of launching marketing disasters, such as the now infamous Pepsi ad that was recently criticized for insensitively appropriating Black Lives Matter protests.

 


 

Lee also stressed the importance of supporting filmmakers of color during a one-on-one interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.

 


 

To end the luncheon, LeToya Luckett, a singer, actress, and former member of Destiny’s Child, gave an exhilarating performance.

 

ABFF Letoya Luckett performs at the Cadillac Media Luncheon at ABFF (Image: Twitter/ABFF)

 

Later that evening, Producer Will Packer and Director Malcolm D. Lee presented the worldwide premiere of Girls Trip, the new comedy starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Queen Latifah.

 


 

Click here to follow @BlackEnterprise’s live coverage of #ABFF2017 on Twitter.

 

Lifestyle – Black Enterprise

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