Spike Lee Biography: He Did the Right Thing
The story of Spike Lee is not one of a poor ghetto kid who went from rags to riches. Spike and his three siblings were raised in a relatively well-off family. He was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957 in Atlanta, GA. Spike grew up in the Fort Green section of Bed-Stuy do-or-die Brooklyn, NY. Lee's mother, Jacqueline, (who gave him the nickname Spike) was a private school teacher who planted the seed for her children's eventual attraction to art and literature. She was always taking them to galleries, plays and museums. Spike would also go with his dad Bill, who was an accomplished jazz musician, to clubs where he played.
Spike Lee shoots his first "Spike Lee Joint". Before he turned twenty, Spike had the filmmaking bug and was making amateur movies. Lee completed his first film as an undergraduate student at Morehouse College called "The Last Hustle in Brooklyn." Spike would go on to graduate from New York University film school in 1982 with a student Academy Award for his Thesis film "Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads".
Spike Lee was ready to take movie making to a new place with his new vision. In 1986, Spike Lee became a promising director when his movie "She's Gotta Have It" hit theaters. "She's Gotta Have It" was shot in two short weeks on a $160,000 budget and would go on to gross close to three quarters of a million dollars. Lee would press on, writing, producing and directing films that would show how it "should" be in his community. His movies would also drop bombs on the perceptions of how African Americans lived in America as a whole. In 1989, Lee won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Do The Right Thing."
Spike Lee: the voice, the camera, the message. Spike and his 40Acres & A Mule Filmworks are known for making controversial films/documentaries. Lee and his production company have also been successful at directing and shooting TV commercials such as Nike's Air Jordan campaign, Converse, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry's. You can peep his most recent work on MSNBC with their Lean Forward commercials. Stay tuned for Lee's "Inside Man" sequel as well as documentaries on Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.