And We Back – Spike Lee’s Return to Prominence

It only takes one.
One hit and all is forgiven.
One hit and those who forgot your genius will come rushing back.
I’ve seen this happen in music.
Chris Brown had a domestic dispute with Rihanna in 2009 and happened to be in jail when his biggest hit, Loyal dominated the airwaves but Team Breezy was dedicated to the star.
R. Kelly just recently after 15+ years of accusations has been affected by the groundswell of opposition to his targeting of kids.
With Spike Lee it’s different.
His not a disgraced creative trying to regain his footing like an Aziz Ansari or Louis C.K.
He’s a brilliant filmmaker who is getting his roses while he can still smell them.
He started his career independently with the release of the black and white picture She’s Gotta Have It.
Then moving on to School Daze and the iconic Do The Right Thing which Lee was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Known for being able to turn a profit on smaller budget Warner Brothers wanted him to make the biopic about leader Malcolm X for under $30 million even recommending that they shoot the Jersey shoreline for Egypt.
He used his clout when they went over budget to tap his celebrity friends from Michael Jordan to Bill Cosby to make up the money.
And carried on requesting to only be interviewed by Black interviewers, all but LA Times agreed.
His partnership with Denzel Washington since Mo’ Better Blues is phenomenal.
He and Washington knocked down doors that Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan walk through now.
The Academy didn’t give the film it’s due with only Washington being nominated losing Best Actor to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman.
Lee was recognized with an honorary Oscar in 2015 but has never won.
Jordan Peele last year won Best Original Screenplay for Get Out.
They collaborated for Cannes darling BlacKkKlansman starring frequent collaborator Washington’s son John David whose first role was as a child repeating “I am Malcolm X” at the end of that film.
It’s refreshing after him going direct to consumer through Kickstarter and Vimeo, the controversy of Chi-raq, & the success of Netflix She’s Gotta Have It to have Lee being recognized as the genius he is.
With the recognition of #OscarsSoWhite and the infusion of youth in the Academy I’m excited to see what’s next for Lee and Peele in this new Black Renaissance in film and television.
BlacKkKlansman is out this week.
Go and see these creatives continue to push the boundaries.

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