Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) – written as well as produced by the filmmaker, and starring Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson, and Lee himself – is one of the greatest films of all time, according to Far Out Magazine. Regardless, the racially charged release was only nominated in two categories at that year’s Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay), winning neither. Some critics said the movie could “incite black audiences to riot,” to which Lee responded, “I don’t remember people saying people were going to come out of theatres killing people after they watched Arnold Schwarzenegger films.”
This year, Spike Lee will become the first black person in the Cannes Film Festival’s seventy-three-year history to serve as jury president, succeeding Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose 2019 jury of artists awarded Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019) the Palme d’Or, according to NBC News. The sixty-two-year-old filmmaker’s feature debut, She’s Gotta Have It (1986), won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the Director’s Fortnight at that year’s Cannes, and his most recent offering, BlacKkKlansman (2018), took home the Cannes Grand Prix. The festival will take place May 12 through the 23, and the rest of Lee’s jury will be announced in mid-April.
The American Black Film Festival will screen Reginald Hudlin’s documentary, The Black Godfather (2019), host a dialogue with Spike Lee and Stefon Bristol, as well as feature the top finalists for the twenty-second HBO Short Film Competition, according to Deadline. In addition, Tim Story’s Shaft (2019), the New Line Cinema reboot of the quintessential blaxploitation hero, will premiere ahead of its June 14 release, and Netflix will have a showing for Chris Robinson’s coming-of-age drama, Beats (2019), set in the hip hop scene on the South Side of Chicago and starring Anthony Anderson. The festival takes place from June 12 through June 16 in Miami.