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Shelton Jackson Lee (b. 20th March 1957) Spike Lee is an American film director, producer and writer. His hometown is Brooklyn, New York. He started his own production company under the name '40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks'. Spike Lee is renowned for his controversial topics in films, some of which highlight race relations, poverty and political issues.
Early life: Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother, Jacqueline Carroll, taught the arts and black literature while his father, William James Edward Lee III, was a jazz musician. He got his nickname 'Spike' from his mother and he attended John Dewey High School. Lee then attended Morehouse College and made his first film 'Last Hustle In Brooklyn' before leaving with a BA in Mass Communication. During that time he also took film courses at Clark Atlanta University, and later did graduate work at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he landed himself a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.
Career: Spike Lee completed his first thesis film 'Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads' in 1983 and showcased it at Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival. In 1985, Lee made his first feature film 'She's Gotta Have It'. The budget was $175,000 and was released in 1986; the film grossed $7,000,000 at the U.S Box Office and it was shot in only two weeks.
1989 saw the release of controversial film 'Do The Right Thing' which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. The following year, 'Mo' Better Blues' was released. Lee released '4 Little Girls' in 1997; a documentary that explored the killings of the children from a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The film was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the Academy Awards.
Commercials: In 1990, Levi's jeans took Lee on to produce the TV commercials for the 501 button fly selection. Nike offered Lee a deal to direct for the company, and worked on the 'Air Jordans' line. His success in commercials then spanned to the likes of Converse, Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry's and Jaguar.
Personal Life: Lee is married to Tonya Lewis who is an attorney. They have two children; their daughter Satchel (b. Dec.1994) and their son Jackson (b. 1997). Lee is an avid New York Yankees fan, as well as a New York Knicks and English Football Team, Arsenal. Lee has his own office, and lives with his wife Tonya in Upper-East Manhattan, New York.
Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Allyson Green, Alec Baldwin , Steven Tisch - NYU TISCH 50th Anniversary Gala hosted by Alec Baldwin and Spike Lee, honoring the Tisch Family and notable alumni at Jazz At Lincoln Center - New York, New York, United States - Monday 4th April 2016
The director will be boycotting this years awards, after the #Oscarssowhite debate.
Director Spike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Oscars at the Berlin International Film Festival while premiering his latest movie Chi-Raq. Lee announced in January that he would not be attending this year’s ceremony, due to the lack of diversity among the nominees.
Spike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Academy Awards.
When asked about the Oscars diversity debate, Lee said he and his wife “never called a boycott. We just said we’re not going.” “Every year if you add up all the actor categories, there are 20 spots open and in the last two years not a single person of colour has been nominated,” Lee continued.
The 'Concussion' star appeared on 'Good Morning Britain' to explain his decision to boycott this year's Academy Awards.
Will Smith has spoken some more about his decision to join his wife Jada Pinkett Smith in boycotting this year’s Oscars ceremony, saying that he wants to be “part of the solution” to the diversity problem in the movie industry.
Smith is currently in Britain promoting Concussion, the movie which had seen him tipped to be in contention for the Best Actor trophy before the nominations were announced and he was left off the five-strong shortlist. For the second year in a row, all 20 acting nominations were taken up by white actors, much to the ire of social media.
Will Smith at the European premiere of 'Concussion' in January 2016
Continue reading: Will Smith Says His Decision To Boycott Oscars "Isn't About Me"
Rock is hosting the Oscars for the first time since 2005, but the #OscarsStillSoWhite uproar has led to calls for him to step down altogether rather than try to initiate change from within.
Oscars host Chris Rock is coming under increasing calls to boycott the awards ceremony in the aftermath of the controversial nominations last week, in which none of the 20 acting nominations went to a black or ethnic minority actor.
#OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsStillSoWhite have kept the furore going on social media since the announcement of the major acting and directing categories happened a week ago, and now a number of celebrities including Furious 7 star Tyrese Gibson are arguing that Rock ought to step down as host.
Chris Rock is under pressure to step down as Oscars host after the diversity row over nominations
Continue reading: Chris Rock Under Pressure To Step Down As Oscars Host In Diversity Row
Clooney and Nyong’o join the growing list of names speaking out over the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations.
Lupita Nyong’o and George Clooney have become the latest stars to speak out about this year’s Oscar nominations, which have been criticised for their lack of diversity. Already director Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith have said they’ll be boycotting this year’s ceremony which for the second year in a row features no non-white nominees in any of the major categories.
Lupita Nyong’o has joined the debate over this year’s Oscars.
Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2013, wrote on Instagram: "I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards nominations. It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture."
Continue reading: Lupita Nyong'o And George Clooney Join Oscars' Diversity Debate
Both Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith will be boycotting this year’s ceremony.
As the debate over the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees continues, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has released a lengthly statement addressing the issue. The statement comes after director Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith announced they wound not be attending this year’s ceremony, which has been criticised for failing to recognise non-white actors and directors.
Academy preisdent Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
"I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees," Isaacs wrote. "While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.”
Lee is the latest star to speak out over the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations.
Director Spike Lee has announced he will not be attending this year’s Oscars, due to the lack of diversity among the nominees. For the second year in a row the Oscar’s was criticised for failing to honour non-white actors and directors, causing the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to trend on social media.
Director Spike Lee will not be attending this year’s Oscars.
In a letter posted to Instagram, Lee began by thanking the Academy for awarding him an honorary Oscar in November, but stated that he and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee would not be in attendance at this year’s ceremony.
Last week, Chicago-born rap star Chance The Rapper said in an interview that he found 'Chi-Raq' to be "exploitative and problematic".
Filmmaker and director Spike Lee has hit back at Chance the Rapper’s criticism of his new movie Chi-Raq, claiming that the rap star’s father works for the Mayor of Chicago and that his perspective is therefore skewed.
Last week, Chicago native Chance (real name Chancelor Bennett) made critical comments about Lee’s newly released film, calling it “exploitative and problematic” in an interview with The 405. However, in an interview on Thursday (December 10th) with MSNBC, the director said that his father, Ken Bennett was mayor Rahm Emanuel’s deputy chief of staff.
Spike Lee hit back at Chance The Rapper this week
Continue reading: Spike Lee Hits Back At Chance The Rapper's 'Chi-Raq' Criticism
No stranger to controversy, Spike Lee has been sparking debate in the run-up to his new drama Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq is about women in South Chicago who decide to withhold sex from their men to get them to stop killing each other. The story comes from ancient mythology, namely Lysistrata by Aristophanes. "It was originally [cowriter] Kevin Willmott's idea," Lee says. "He wrote the first treatment. We tried to get that off the ground but couldn't get it done. So a year ago I gave him a call and I asked if he still owned that script. He told me yes, it's still free. So I said lets cowrite it and let's make it take place in the South Side of Chicago. And here we are now. But it wasn't easy."
Finding a studio to finance the film was the next big challenge. "Amazon was the one who said yes. Everyone else said no," he says. "And I understand their hesitation a bit because the entire script is written in verse!" Lee has been outspoken about race and violence in America throughout his career, which has spanned such classics as 1989's Do the Right Thing, the biopic Malcolm X and the heist thriller Inside Man. So he wasn't surprised when Chi-Raq's trailer sparked an explosion of criticism on the internet.
Continue reading: Chi-Raq Finds Spike Lee Speaking Out Again
The direction was receiving an honorary Oscar at last night’s ceremony.
Director Spike Lee has once again criticised Hollywood for its lack of diversity. The director made the comments during a 15-minute speech at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' seventh annual Governors Awards on Saturday night, where he received an honorary Oscar.
Spike Lee has once again criticised Hollywood.
"Everybody in here probably voted for Obama but when I go to offices, I see no black folks except for the brother man at the security who checks my name off the list as I go into the studio," Lee said.
Continue reading: Spike Lee Uses Governors Awards Speech To Criticise Hollywood
This time it's up to the wives to stop the killings.
The trailer for Spike Lee's emotionally charged new drama 'Chi-Raq' is here, and while it's based on an ancient war comedy, he takes a far more serious look at the war raging on the streets of Chicago in regards to gang violence and the city's ever growing death toll.
Teyonah Parris brings the girl power in 'Chi-Raq'
The premise of the movie, as mentioned in the new trailer, is that homicides in Chicago have easily exceeded those of American Special Forces in Iraq (hence the title). It's a shocking statement that turns a would-be comedy into something far graver. It's based on the 411 BCE Greek play 'Lysistrata' by Aristophanes, which is set during the Peloponnesian War. The main idea is that the title character, a woman of independence and remarkable strength for that time, rallies together a group of women in a bid to end the war her own way; by persuading these ladies to sign an oath eschewing all sexual activity with their husbands until they agree to put down their weapons.
Date of birth
20th March, 1957
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