Spike Lee (Director)

In the past decade, Spike Lee (director) has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most important and influential filmmakers. He recently completed his thirteenth film, Bamboozled which stars Damon Wayans, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tommy Davidson, and Savion Glover. Other recent films include Summer of Sam starring John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino. Girl 6 and Get on the Bus. These movies follow some of his most critically acclaimed films, Malcolm X, Clockers and Do the Right Thing.

In 1986, his debut film, the independently produced hit comedy She’s Gotta Have It, earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award at the Cannes Film Festival and set him in the forefront of the Black New Wave in American Cinema.

School Daze his second feature, was not only highly profitable, but also helped launch the careers of several young Black actors. Mr. Lee’s timely 1989 film Do the Right Thing, garnered an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film and Director awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Clockers and Crooklyn, were also critically well received.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Lee returned south to attend Morehouse College. After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn to continue his education at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan where he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in film production. Lee then founded 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks based in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, where he has resided since childhood.

In addition to his achievements in feature films, Spike Lee has produced and directed numerous music videos for diverse artists such as Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, Public Enemy, Arrested Development, Bruce Hornsby and Michael Jackson. His other music videos include work for the late Phyliss Hyman, Naughty by Nature, and Arrested Development.

Lee’s commercial work began in 1988 with his Nike Air Jordan campaign. Collaborating with basketball great Michael Jordan on seven commercials, Lee resurrected his popular character, Mars Blackmon from She’s Gotta Have It. He has also completed a PSA for UNCF which also features Michael Jordan called, "Two Michaels." Lee is also well known for his Levi’s button-Fly 501, AT&T, and ESPN television commercials. Other commercial ventures include TV spots for Philips, Nike, American Express, Snapple and Taco Bell, just to name a few. Mr. Lee has also directed several Art Spot Shorts for MTV and a short film featuring Branford Marsalis and Diahnne Abbott for "Saturday Night Live." Mr. Lee is also diversely involved in documentaries and sports programs having completed the Emmy and Oscar nominated documentary, 4 Little Girls for HBO and receiving an Emmy® Award for his piece on Georgetown’s John Thompson.

Ever moving into new areas, Spike Lee has combined his extensive creative experience into yet another venture; partnering with DDB Needham, he has created Spike/DDB-a full service advertising agency – that will concentrate on the urban/ethnic market.

Luna Ray Films is a bi-coastal production company currently developing a diverse slate of film, television, and theatre projects. A Huey P. Newton Story is their first production. With Huey Luna Ray orchestrated a diverse group of parties including Spike Lee, Huey Newton’s heirs, PBS, the National Black Programming Consortium, KQED Public Television, the Ford Foundation and the African Heritage Network, among others, into an unprecedented creative and business collaboration. The following three bios are from the producers of A Huey P. Newton Story.