Do you know who Ron Stallworth is? Well, you’re about to find out, and Spike Lee is about to tell you about it. Currently, Spike Lee is the toast of the Cannes Film Festival as industry illuminates and dignitaries shower down accolades in abundance at the premiere of his new film BlackKlansMan over in France, slated to open nationwide in August.
The Shadow League was in attendance at another gathering several months back in which Lee played the role of master teacher to an audience of film aficionados of varying levels of prowess at South By South West.
Getting back to the original premise, Ron Stallworth was the first African American police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 70s and is responsible for a sting investigation on the Ku Klux Klan involving himself and a Jewish officer. Starring John David Washington and Adam Driver, it “looks” like the picture perfect period piece of 70s-buddy cop noir, except it’s based on a true story. And now it’s a Spike Lee Joint! To top it all off, it’s also a Monkeypaw Production.
A Spike Lee joint. From producer Jordan Peele. Based on some fo’ real, fo’ real sh*t. Watch the #BlacKkKlansman trailer now – in theaters August 10. https://www.facebook.com/blackkklansman https://www.instagram.com/blackkklansman/ https://twitter.com/BlacKkKlansman http://www.blackkklansman.com/ From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero.
With the subject matter of the new offering being of historic record, Spike Lee’s words from that day ring even truer to my ears.
Here’s what he had to say about gatekeepers, self-appointed experts, and how it is necessary for qualified individuals who’re truly intimate with the subject to translate black culture in cinematic productions because things aren’t always as authentic as they seem.
“It puts you in the position where you have to teach people something. Because they don’t know. This comes about with the appropriation of the culture. People set themselves up as experts of the culture when they’re not of the culture. And this culture makes billions of dollars. So you have to really do your research to find out if these people who set themselves up as experts really know what they’re talking about.”
“Because you can see somebody on television and think ‘Aw, man! That gives them credibility.’ But that could be the okie-doke. Everything comes down to research, and that takes time. But, with this stuff, it’s easy to find out what you need to know. Look it up! Before you ask a question, look it up Informational is powerful, but if you don’t go out there and try to get it, it’s not gonna reach you.”
“To really master something, you have to put in the time where you really have no time for anything else except sleep. If you look at the greats, Miles Davis practices eight, nine hours a day. What else was he gonna do? John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, these people had to master their craft by practicing every single waking moment. So, for me, if you master one thing, that’s a miracle. That’s my opinion. Knowing these people, and seeing the time and effort they put into their craft, they don’t have time for anything else.”