EURweb caught up with an exuberant and jubilant Spike Lee for brunch recently at the Essex House Hotel in New York City to discuss his monumental movie, “BlacKKKlansman.”
At a time when many are suffering from Stockholm syndrome under a president spewing hatred and sanctioning racism, Spike Lee gives a wake up call in the form of “BlacKKKlansman.”
With that in mind, Eurweb’s first question to Spike was does he think “BlacKKKlansman” will have an impact? “That’s my hope,” he says, “but you know what? A lot of times people don’t get it right away. They didn’t get ‘Bamboozled’ right away. It was years.”
Every time I see scenes from ‘Birth of a Nation’ I cringe. Did it bother you to include scenes from that film in ‘BlacKKKlansman?
It bothered me when they showed that movie in my first year at NYU graduate film school and there was no historical, social, political context explored or discussed for the film. The only thing discussed was the great technological and cinematic inventions that D.W. Griffith, ‘the father of cinema,’ came up with.
No one talked about how at the time the film came out that the KKK was dormant. It was dead. That film brought about a resurgence, the rebirth of the Klan. It was shown at the White House where Woodrow Wilson said viewing this film is like watching history. That film lead directly to black people being lynched.
Can you talk about those scenes with Klansman Felix Kendrickson and his wife Connie?
First of all, Ashlie Atkinson (Connie) is a very fine actress. We worked together before on ‘Inside Man.’ And I’ve never seen people talk about the women in the Klan. So Kevin Willmott (co-writer) and I wanted to show what a Klan couple might be like, lying in bed, holding each other. Talking about killing some Niggas [Spike laughs out loud, while banging on the table]. It’s a love scene [he says facetiously].
What relevance, would you say, this film has to education?
It’s hard to come up in the educational system in the United States that’s built on lies. It starts in kindergarten with the fuckin’—excuse my language—Washington and the cherry tree lie. The truth is that this country was built on the genocide of Native Americans and slaves. White superiority is a lie and that’s why there’s several things in the film we’re addressing [in this regard]. We’ve been taught to hate ourselves and I believe in my heart we’re still dealing with PTSD, Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. We’ve still dealing with it and don’t even know it.
After talking about a litany of affronts by the USA government, Spike ended our conversation by making a statement and asking a question. “Here’s the thing,” he said, “Since Agent Orange Got in office, he has gutted everything Obama has done! Let me ask you a question. How does a former lobbyist for the coal industry get to run the EPA?
Easy answer, Spike. Even though this is supposed to be the land of the free, a treasonous overseer continues to hold minds hostage.
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