“BlacKkKlansman” director Spike Lee, who hails from Atlanta, is among Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019.
In a tribute written by fellow director Jordan Peele, Lee is described as “a visionary, a trailblazer, a provocateur and a true American original.”
The director, producer, writer and actor, a 1979 graduate of Morehouse College and former student at Clark Atlanta University, is behind more than two dozen films, from 1980s hits “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Do the Right Thing” and, as previously mentioned, the 2018 blockbuster “BlacKkKlansman,” which earned Lee earned his first Academy Award.
While Lee’s created masterpieces across genres, Peele lauds his consistent “ability to understand the cultural landscape of the moment and deliver a spot-on message.
“Most recently, BlacKkKlansman fittingly opened on the anniversary of the Charlottesville riots,” he wrote. “It was a reminder that even though the Ron Stallworth story was decades old, the hatred he fought was still very fresh. It was also a testament to Spike’s ability as a filmmaker to transcend history.”
During Black History Month, AJC’s Ernie Snuggs also wrote about the parallels between Radio Raheem, “a hulking Brooklyn character in the film ‘Do the Right Thing’” and the tragic death of Eric Garner, who was killed by police in 2014.
After Garner’s death, Spike Lee found himself once again in the editing room with the 1989 film, which the Library of Congress had selected for preservation in the National Film Registry because it was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” Suggs added.
Lee joins Atlanta-born Khalid, a musician best known for his smooth, soulful and individual style in the Time 100 list.
Stacey Abrams also made an appearance on the annual listicle, penning an essay in honor of Desmond Meade, an ex-felon who led the charge to restore voting rights of Florida felons.
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