40 ACRES AND A MULE FILMWORKS

Who is Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee?

The Man of Many Talents

While African-American filmmakers have been a staple of the cinematic landscape since the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux during the '20s, none have had the same cultural or artistic impact as Spike Lee. As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for African-American voices to be heard. His movies -- a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques informed by an unwavering commitment toward challenging cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity -- both solidified his own standing as one of contemporary cinema's most influential figures and furthered the careers of actors including Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne. Along the way, Lee even cleared a path for up-and-coming black filmmakers such as John Singleton, Matty Rich, Darnell Martin, Ernest Dickerson (Lee's one-time cinematographer), and Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes

Spike Lee

Born as Shelton Jackson Lee, Spike Lee is a renowned film director and actor famous for dealing with controversial issues like racism, politics and urban violence in his films. Known for his candid portrayal of taboo topics, he is a fearless and independent minded man who lets his films do the talking. He has made many movies such as ‘School Daze’, ‘Do the Right Thing’, and ‘Malcolm X’ which not only delivered powerful messages to the audiences, but also established him as one of the most respected directors in Hollywood. The son of a teacher and a jazz musician, he was brought up in a culturally and artistically rich atmosphere. His mother played an important role in kindling his imagination—she often took him to museums, galleries and plays and instilled in the boy a love for African American literature. As a young man he realized that he wanted to make films that celebrated the African culture. He made his debut as a director and actor with ‘She's Gotta Have It’ which was a huge success. Since then he has made numerous other movies that explore the greatness of African American culture. He is also the founder of the production house ‘40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks’ which has produced more than 35 films till date
Spike Lee Clip Short