Spike Lee wins Grand Prix Award at Cannes

JORDANNAH ELIZABETH | 5/24/2018, 4:38 p.m.
Filmmaker, provocateur and NYC legend Spike Lee was awarded the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes film festival for his ...

Filmmaker, provocateur and NYC legend Spike Lee was awarded the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes film festival for his newest film, “BlacKkKlansman.” The film is a collaboration with “Get Out” writer and director Jordan Peele, who produced the project.

Vibe reported, “‘BlacKkKlansman’ is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, who launched an undercover investigation into Ku Klux Klan. The film stars John David Washington as Stallworth, Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman and Topher Grace as David Duke, who at the time was the KKK’s grand wizard.”

As he does in much of his work, Lee embeds his social commentary and added a scene that reflected the horror of the Charlottesville protest murder of Heather Heyer. Lee spoke about his choice to do so at Cannes. He said, “Right away, I knew that this had to be the coda for the film, but I had to do something first. I was given Susan Bro’s phone number. She is the mother of Heather Heyer, who got murdered when that car came crashing down the street. I was not gonna put that murder scene in the film without her blessing. Mrs. Bro said, ‘Spike, I give you permission to put that in.’ Once I got permission, I said, ‘F--- everybody else, that motherf---ing scene is staying in the motherf---ing movie.’ Cuz that was a murder.”

He went on to criticize the president and shared his perception of how our current administration has brought a rise to public displays of protest and racism by white supremacists in America. He said, “And we have a guy in the White House—I’m not gonna say his f---ing name—who defined that moment not just for Americans but the world, and that motherf---er was given the chance to say we are about love, not hate. And that motherf---er did not denounce the motherf---ing Klan, the alt-right and those Nazis motherf---ers. It was a defining moment, and he could have said to the world, not just the United States, that we were better than that.”

Director Ava DuVernay was on the jury, along with jury president Cate Blanchett, and considered the film to be “startling and stunning.” There’s no telling what modern Black film would be without Spike Lee’s unapologetic political views and courage to take on Black stories and narratives that are rarely told.

“BlacKkKlansman” will hit theaters Aug. 10.