BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s new Joint, snatches the veil from the face of America, exposing a long ignored ugly truth.
The bizarre yet true story follows Ron Stallworth, the first black officer hired by the Colorado Springs Police Department. Hungry for more meaningful police work, Stallworth, played by John David Washington, (Denzel Washington’s son) stumbles upon an ad in the local newspaper, which results in Stallworth infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan.
Earlier this month, during the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) conference in Detroit, Spike Lee and John Davis Washington stopped by to show an advanced screening of the film.
Wearing a Malcolm X hat, dressed in a denim jacket, black jeans and his signature Jordans, the crowd erupted in applause and screams as Lee walked out on stage.
“Wake up. Get woke,” Lee yelled out to the audience at the Detroit Film Theatre inside of the Detroit Institute of Arts. “Ya’ll remember in School Daze, that was the last thing Lawrence Fishburne’s character said. Not much has changed.”
Lee went on to drop a few seeds of wisdom on the films real life protagonist, the importance of owning our narrative and why the film BlacKkKlansman is especially relevant today.
Who Is Ron Stallworth? Stallworth’s story is a slice of history that wasn’t widely publicized. Lee hadn’t even heard of him, let alone his autobiography until Jordan Peele called him. (Peele is also co-producer of the film.)
“Jordan called and asked if I had heard of Ron and I said, ‘no’, but after he told me his story, I was on board to make it happen.”
Why We Have To Own Our Narrative Lee and Washington both touched on the importance of working behind the scenes. Lee compared the heads of film studios to the movie poster of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. In the photo, a hand is reaching down and pulling several strings.
“The real power comes from producing, writing, directing and editing, Lee said.”
Why BlacKkKlansman is Relevant Today *Spoiler Alert* In the last scene of the film, Lee uses real footage of the 2017 Charlottesville riot that left 19 injured and 1 dead. When asked why he decided to use that as the closing scene, Lee answered without hesitation.
“I had no choice but to include it. This has to be the end,” Lee said. “This is a classic example of home grown terrorism in America.
“We need to start dealing with the truth and being on the right side of history.”
When watching BlacKkKlansman you can’t help but ponder your own racial experiences and how they have shaped who you are as a person. While the film ignites a sense of pride, within that, there is still the nightmare of hatred and racism that still exists.
BlacKkKlansman is now in theatres. Check out the trailer below.
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