BlacKKKlansman is based on the memoir Black Klansman by of Ron Stallworth, a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Lee ran to the stage and jumped in the arms of fellow Morehouse Man Samuel L. Jackson, who presented the award.
While Spike Lee’s legendary filmography has had classics like Do The Right Thing, School Daze, Malcolm X and more, this is the first time in his 33-year career where he’ll take home an Academy Award.
Lee, wearing a purple suit and customized gold Jordans, held a piece of paper and read a powerful speech that acknowledged the sacrifices of his family and ancestors.
Read and watch his full acceptance speech below.
Alright. I want to thank Tonya, Jack, and Satchel. The word today is irony. The date? The 24th. The month? February which also happens to be the shortest month of the year, which also happens to be Black History Month. The year 2019. The year 1619. History. Herstory. 1619 2019. 400 years. 400 years [ago] our ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa and brought to Jamestown, Virgina enslaved. Our ancestors worked for the land, from [when they couldn’t] see in the morning [until] they can’t see at night.
My grandmother Zimme Shelton Aretha – who lived to be 100 years young, who is a Spelman graduate, even though her mother was a slave. My grandmother who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild [in college]. She called me Spikey Poo. She put me through Morehouse College and NYU’s grad film [program].
Before the world tonight, I give praise to the ancestors, who help build this country and [sic] along with the genocide of his native people. If we all connect with our ancestors, we will have love, wisdom and regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment.
The 2020 presidential election is around the corner! Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!