After winning his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay trophy for BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee shared his own story within the context of the larger African-American struggle. His speech nodded to the first slaves that arrived in Jamestown, Virginia 400 years ago. Lee then spoke about how his grandmother, the daughter of a slave, put herself through college then saved 50 years of Social Security checks so that Lee – “She called me ‘Spikey-Poo'” – could afford college and film school.
“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who helped build this country,” Lee said. “If we all connect with our ancestors, we will have love, wisdom and we’ll regain our humanity – it will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner: Let’s all mobilize, let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
However, the 2020 call to action, perhaps unsurprisingly, drew the attention of President Donald Trump, who accused Lee of “doing a racist hit on your President” on Twitter Monday morning.
The full tweet read: “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc.) than almost any other Pres!”
Lee received the Academy Honorary Award in 2016 and was previously nominated for Best Screenplay in 1990 for Do the Right Thing and Best Documentary in 1998 for 4 Little Girls. BlacKkKlansman is also up for Best Picture, while Lee was also up for Best Director.