By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
In order to describe Spike Lee’s new film “Blakkklansman,” it is important for many folks who have not experienced the violent cruelty of white supremacists to be reminded of the cruelty and atrocities black folks have suffered at the hands of entities like the Klu Klux Klan and other hate-inspired entities. Spike Lee addresses this head on while telling the story of the infiltration of the KKK by a black police detective and a Jewish detective in the 1970s. It also reminds us that we have allies in many places, including the very institutions that act as the most brutal oppressors that was not something I expected. Through a beautiful and inspiring appearance by Harry Belafonte as Jerome Turner, a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. He told the story of Jesse Washington, a black teenage farmhand who was lynched in the county seat of Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916. The pictures were sold as souvenirs that glorified these horrific events, the background under which black folks lived are not that different from the new era ushered by this administration, and Mr. Lee makes sure we know that.
Spike Lee’s style is mesmerizing, as he celebrates the black community and its intense love for life and constantly under the hateful eyes of white supremacists, we experience some of the joys that music brings and how pride can be a tool for survival and love. Here is another hero, but this time prepared and willing to jump into danger and in doing so, discovers his own identity and strength as a black man, his own ability to look the monster in the eye and tackle it with gusto. With his strength he inspires the one Jewish police officer to also consider his place and his cultural origins, he also chooses to empower himself as a force for good. We also see David Duke for what he is, a traditional and evolving racists who wants to burn the world so he can claim he protected the white “race.” There is a tendency for many to believe that the angry and idiotic are the engine of this machine, but they are not, they are the tools who are used to bring violence to those they hate, and that is how they commiserate and connect.
“Blakkklansman” is another gift by one of the world’s most celebrated and respected Muses’ Spike Lee. He is the embodiment of what a social justice storyteller who cares about making people see the truth as his people experience it. His films are always about a truth we may not want to see or that we are too distracted to perceive or one that we feel we need to hide.
This is not the first time government has been the culprit of crimes committed in the name of unity and safety for its people, Spike reminds us that we need people in government that are compassionate for all people, or we will suffer the consequences of all other nations the founders ran away from. It also reminds us that the very few times that the government has been in the side of all its citizens has been very limited and very much against the grain. This government has been used as a tool to support and execute misguided beliefs of those that believe that superiority is theirs because of their nationality, pigment or ethnicity. This film is also a reminder that the atrocities that were allowed to happen and in some cases encouraged, are not fairy tales, they are very real, as real as those that were murdered violently in the name of hate and fear.