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Fueled by the success of his independent debut film ‘She’s Gotta Have It’, Spike Lee became the first notable black filmmaker to appear on the American scene in many years.
A graduate of New York University's film school, Lee has won acclaim for his films examining race relations, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.
Born Shelton Jackson Lee, in Atlanta, Georgia, on the eve of the civil rights era, Lee spent his formative years in Brooklyn, New York, an area that would figure largely in his work as a mature filmmaker.
His awareness of his African American identity was established at an early age. His mother, Jacquelyn, infected her children with a schoolteacher's enthusiasm for black art and literature.
Since 1983, his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films. Lee’s film Do the Right Thing was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1989.
Many people, including some in Hollywood notables such as Kim Basinger, believed that Do the Right Thing also deserved a Best Picture nomination.
In his upcoming documentary, If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, Lee returns to New Orleans to examine how the ambitious plans to rebuild Crescent City have panned out.
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