The name Spike Lee is synonymous with many of the most famous movies of all time. Lee has been known to produce powerful movies such as Malcolm X (1992), Do the Right Thing (1989), She's Gotta Have It (1986), School Daze (1988) and Mo' Better Blues (1990).
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee in 1957 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. By the age of 20, he was already making amateur films. In fact, he won a Student Academy Award for his graduate thesis film soon thereafter.
Lee soon produced his first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, drawing much attention and producing one of the most profitable films made in 1986. With this, Lee became a director with true promise.
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The film served as a starting point to a great career that focused on exploring provoking and controversial topics like race, politics and violence. Lee was no stranger to controversial public statements either. He often took a critical stance in relation to issues such as race relations, political issues and urban crime and violence.
Lee's next film, Do The Right Thing examined all of the above topics and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989. Subsequent films, including Malcolm X, Mo' Better Blues, Summer of Sam and She Hate Me, continued to explore the same issues along with thought provoking documentaries and even commercials.
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His latest feature film, Miracle at St. Anna (2008), chronicles the story of four African American soldiers trapped in an Italian village during World War II. This movie was praised for bringing the often overlooked experience of 'buffalo soldiers' to the big screen. Lee continued to elicit praise in 2011 for directing the coming-of-age drama Pariah
Spike Lee, and his talented wife Tonya Lewis Lee offer up an inspirational picture book Giant Steps to Change the World about activism and taking the big steps to set things right, set to beautiful illustrations by the award-winning Sean Qualls. Using examples of people throughout history who have taken "giant steps," this book urges kids to follow in their footsteps and not be hindered by fear or a sense that you are not good enough. Despite the challenges, even the smallest step can change the world.
The Michael Jackson Documentary
Lee is currently in the final stages of post-production of a Michael Jackson documentary that focuses on the King of Pop's album Bad and ensuing world tour. The documentary will feature numerous interviews about the album’s lasting influence.
"I’m more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson," said Lee in a statement. "And having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy." Spike Lee's great influence in the film industry is undoubtedly far reaching. Not only has he helped to chart the way, bringing critical issues such as gender relations, racial equality, political responsibility and crime and violence to the forefront of the big screen, but he has done so with unequal success.
Today, we can only await the next prodigious piece of work Lee will pull from his creative genius. Spike Lee is devoted to charities and good causes and is well known for his on-going community service in the Big Apple, New York. By Navito