spike lee at the blackkklansman premier

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Spike Lee defends ‘BlacKkKlansman’ after Boots Riley’s critique

Lee said his films have been 'very critical of the police.'


Audra Schroeder


Published Aug 27, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 7:52 am CDT

On Aug. 17, Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley offered his thoughts on Spike Lee’s new movie BlacKkKlansman, which tells the story of Colorado Springs cop Ron Stallworth infiltrating the KKK in the late ’70s. Riley prefaces the three-page critique by saying Lee was a “huge influence on me” and that “I hold him in highest respect as a filmmaker,” but goes on to dispute how the movie is being pushed as a “true story,” and how it depicts police officers as “allies in the fight against racism.”


In a recent interview with U.K. paper the Times, Lee explained that he doesn’t like to get in feuds about his films, but offered a defense of them: “Look at my films: They’ve been very critical of the police, but on the other hand I’m never going to say all police are corrupt, that all police hate people of color. I’m not going to say that. I mean, we need police. Unfortunately, police in a lot of instances have not upheld the law; they have broken the law.”

He added: “But I’d also like to say, sir, that Black people are not a monolithic group. I have had Black people say, ‘How can a bourgeois person like Spike Lee do Malcolm X?'”

H/T The Root 

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*First Published: Aug 27, 2018, 10:49 am CDT