If it seems white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the alt-right are becoming more emboldened, Spike Lee says there’s a reason – racists have been energized by Donald Trump’s presidency.
The visionary filmmaker, who frequently focuses his lens on racial issues, is preparing for the August release of BlacKkKlansman, about an African-American detective who infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
While the film is based on real events that took place in the 1970s, Lee told The Guardian in a story published Sunday, that hate groups no longer feel they have to hide in the shadows with Trump in the White House.
“This guy in the White House,” Lee said, “has given the green light for the Klan, for the alt-right, for the neo-Nazis to come out in the open. There is no need for the so-called dogwhistle any more, they are in full daylight.”
BlacKkKlansman premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival, and went on to win the festival’s Grand Prix award.
The critically-acclaimed drama tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the first black detective on the Colorado Springs police force, who came up with a plan to expose the KKK.
The film ends with footage of last summer’s Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, which claimed the life of counter-protester Heather Heyer. Lee has repeatedly blasted Trump for his comments saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.
BlacKkKlansman is set to arrive in U.S. theaters on Aug. 10, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville rally.
White nationalists are planning to mark the anniversary with a “White Civil Rights Rally” outside the White House on Aug. 12. They’ll have company, because Black Lives Matter and Shut It Down DC told television station WTTG they’re gearing up for a counter-protest.
Lee believes if the U.S. really wants to get serious about bridging the racial divide, it must first confront its past.
“The whole foundation of this country is wack,” he said. “It’s bullshit. If you go to the constitution it is written that slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being, chattel, like cows or chickens. Unless we can come to grips with how this nation was formed and be honest about it, we will never go forward.”