Connect with us

Spike Lee to be first black head of Cannes film festival



Lee tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American on the Colorado Springs police force who managed to infiltrate the highest levels of the Ku Klux Klan AFP / Alberto PIZZOLI

The maker of “Malcolm X” and “Do the Right Thing” is the first person of black African descent to preside at the world’s biggest film festival, which is held in May on the French Riviera.

Lee, 62, said he was “shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time” to make history.

The Cannes veteran has premiered seven of his films at the festival, with his debut movie “She’s Gotta Have It” causing a sensation in 1986 when it won the youth prize at Directors’ Fortnight.


His appointment comes as activists criticised the Oscars on Monday for ignoring actors and directors of colour, with no nominations for the acclaimed performances of Awkwafina in the Chinese-American drama “The Farewell” and Lupita Nyong’o in the horror movie “Us”.

Lee – who showed his last film “BlacKkKlansman” at Cannes two years ago – said “my biggest blessings… have happened out of nowhere.

“I’m honoured to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival.”

Lee will also be awarded a Palme d’Or, the festival’s top award, for lifetime achievement.

In a written statement from his home in “Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn, New York”, Lee said Cannes had changed his life.


“To me the Cannes film festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world – no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career.

“You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema,” he added.

Lack of diversity

Lee also thanked “the great people of France who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship.”


Only one Asian, the Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai, has ever led the Cannes jury in its 73-year history.

French actress Isabelle Adjani, whose father was Algerian, became the first person of African descent to lead the jury in 1997.


The world’s top film festivals have faced fierce criticism for their lack of diversity in recent years.

Cannes and its rival Venice have faced growing scrutiny, particularly for the lack of female directors in their main competitions, even as they have chosen gender-balanced juries.

More than 80 actresses and woman filmmakers led by then jury president Cate Blanchett staged a red carpet protest at Cannes for equality in the film industry in 2018.


Lee was vocal in his support for the women at the time.

“Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever,” festival director Thierry Fremaux said.

“Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas.

“Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up,” he added.


Last year the jury was led by “Babel” and “The Revenant” director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the first Mexican and only the second Latin American to preside over the festival.

The winning film, Korean Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”, has since become a runaway hit, winning the Golden Globe for best foreign film and six Oscar nominations.

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
Continue Reading


GOP’s use of Kanye West to help Trump has been a spectacular flop: CNN host



On CNN Saturday, Michael Smerconish examined rapper Kanye West's presidential campaign — and how the GOP efforts to boost it to siphon voters from former Vice President Joe Biden don't appear to be working.

"Is Kanye West serious about running for president or is it all part of a dark twisted fantasy?" said Smerconish. "NPR has documented how several operatives, some with Trump ties, are actively helping the superstar get on general election ballots in various states. Kanye West officially on the ballot in Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and has filed recently in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Jared Kushner met privately with West in Colorado, where the two par took in a friendly conversation ... the RNC and Trump has denied involvement in West's campaign. but the president isn't exactly discouraging the competition."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Greenland’s ice sheet has melted past the point of no return



Greenland's ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland's ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters -- enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

Continue Reading


Trump targets TikTok again with new executive order



US President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China's rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

Continue Reading
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.