Spike Lee is a well-known and talented artist whose career spans decades and includes dozens of movies, TV shows, stage plays, and commercials. Lee’s unique voice as an artist has only become more important since his first movie, She’s Gotta Have It, made a big splash in 1986. Lee’s movies show what it’s like to be black in America by using comedy, drama, styled stories, and social commentary.
Lee is known for dramatic movies like “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “Crooklyn,” “Chi-Raq,” and “BlacKkKlansman,” for which he won his first Oscar. He is also a skilled documentary filmmaker, as shown by “4 Little Girls” and “When the Levees Broke.” Lee’s 2020 movie Da 5 Bloods shows that he still has a lot to say after all these years.
1. Lee Was Born in Atlanta, and When He Was Young, His Family Moved to Brooklyn.
Lee came from a family of artists. Lee is the oldest of four children. His father is a professor of literature and his mother is a jazz musician. Despite being born in Atlanta, Lee sees Brooklyn as his home. When Lee was still a child, his family moved to Burrough.
Lee went back to Atlanta to go to college. He got his BA in Mass Communications from the historic Morehouse College. He also went to Clark Atlanta University to study film.
2. After Watching the Deer Hunter, Lee Decided He Wanted to Make Movies
Lee’s love of movies grew as he watched movies by great directors like Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese, and Akira Kurosawa. But Lee didn’t know he wanted to make movies until he saw The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino’s powerful 1978 film about the Vietnam War.
John Wilson, who has known Lee for a long time, told Vanity Fair that Lee told him, “I want to make movies,” on the way home from the movie. John Savage, who was in The Deer Hunter, would later be in Lee’s movie Do the Right Thing. Many critics also think that Lee’s movie about the Vietnam War, 5 Da Bloods, is a response to Cimino’s film.
3. He went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts to study film.
Lee went back to New York after his time in Atlanta. Back in the city, Lee went to the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University to study filmmaking. He eventually got a Master’s Degree. Lee saw the movie After Hours by Martin Scorsese while he was at NYU.
Lee went up to Scorsese after the movie so he could ask him some questions. According to what Lee told Variety, “He was very open. We talked. There were a lot of people there, but we were able to talk for a minute.”
4. His Master’s Thesis Is the First Student Film to Be Shown at The New Directors New Films Festival.
While he was a student at NYU, Spike Lee made the student film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. The movie is the first student film to ever be shown at Lincoln Center’s New Directors New Films Festival. It is about life at a barbershop.
Ang Lee and Ernest R. Dickerson, both of whom would go on to become directors, worked on the film with Lee. Bill, Lee’s dad, wrote the music.
5. Lee Is a Professor with Tenure.
Lee is a well-known film director, but he is also a teacher. After getting his Master’s degree, Lee taught filmmaking at Harvard. In 1993, he joined the faculty at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, where he had studied before.
Lee is now full-time at NYU. He is also in charge of the arts at the Tisch School.
6. He Owns a Company Called 40 Acres and A Mule, Which Makes Movies.
40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks was started in 1979. Its name comes from a policy from the time of Reconstruction that gave freed black people in Georgia 40 acres of land and access to surplus army mules. After Abraham Lincoln was killed, the new president, Andrew Johnson, canceled the policy and made the people leave the land they had just been given.
Most of Lee’s movies and TV shows are made by the company 40 Acres and a Mule. Lee also uses the company to fund other black filmmakers’ projects.
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7. In Addition to Making Movies, the Company Also Makes Commercials for Tv.
Lee grew his production company after Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X did well. He now makes clothes and commercials for TV. Lee has made videos for Levi’s, Converse, Taco Bell, and Ben & Jerry’s.
Michael Jordan and Lee’s most famous work together was on a Nike Air Jordan campaign. Nike asked Lee to bring back his character Mars Blackmon from the movie She’s Gotta Have It for a campaign for new sneakers. Lee also makes music videos with the help of 40 Acres and a Mule.