Spike Lee’s Black-k-Klansman pulls no punches


One of the greatest film directors of all time, Spike Lee, came into London for star-studded special viewing of his film ‘The Black-k-Klansman" to make a point. And boy, did he and his film make a point.

The Black-k Klansman is based on a true story of African American cop Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated the KluKlusklan back in the 70’s. The Black cop played by John David Washington, son of the great Denzel Washington, built a relationship over the phone - of course - first with the Colorado chapter of the Klan, and then with the grand Wizard David Duke. His white Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman would complete the charade by pretending to be the Black cop.

The story of what occurred back in Colorado is both remarkable in how the Klan were duped, but also it gives an astonishing snap shot of the Klan’s utter hatred for both African Americans and Jews.

But what makes this movie stand out as an extraordinary lesson from the past that catapults itself, literally to the very present day. Having watched the end of story from 40 years ago, the real life action then goes to Charlottesville, with thousands of white supremacists marching with Klan torches, swastikas and the confederate flag, making anti Semitic and racist chants. Lee then shows the white supremacist ploughing into the anti-Klan protestors that killed Heather Heyer, and injured many more.

The shot then turns to President Donald Trump, who talks about there being ‘good people’ on Klan march and there were ‘bad people on both sides’. Although, Lee could not have expected any of this when he took on the film project, one of the key protagonist in the film former Klan Wizard David Duke reappears in person speaking to white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017. ‘It’s our time’, Duke tells his supporters, ‘It’s our time ‘.

This was Spike Lee at his very best: A brilliant film maker, but more than that a compelling story teller who seeks to remind nations across the world that hateful politics is emerging in many places like never before.

Simon Woolley