Spike Lee Brings Ku Klux Klan Back Into the Public Consciousness

A bold and brash narrative is something you just expect from a Spike Lee movie.

And that’s exactly what the famed director delivered in BlacKkKlansman, an incredible true story about a black police officer going undercover as a Klansman.

Director: Spike Lee; Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier and Topher Grace; Producers: Sean McKittrick, Raymond Mansfield, Jason Blum, Jordan Peele, Spike Lee, and Shaun Redick

It’s the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department’s rank and file.

Undaunted, Stallworth resolves to make a name for himself and a difference in his community. He bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.

Posing as a racist extremist, Stallworth contacts the group and soon finds himself invited into its inner circle. He even cultivates a relationship with the Klan’s Grand Wizard, David Duke (Topher Grace), who praises Ron’s commitment to the advancement of White America. With the undercover investigation growing ever more complex, Stallworth’s colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), poses as Ron in face-to-face meetings with members of a hate group, gaining insider’s knowledge of a deadly plot.

Together, Stallworth and Zimmerman team up to take down the organization whose real aim is to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

While pulling from a storyline nearly 50 years old, the provocative dive into racism in America seems to be just as bracingly relevant today.

And while Spike Lee is well known to prod and provoke audiences with his films, like Do The Right Thing, this movie was actually a bit more subtle. Simply put, with plenty of innate humor, the film deals with racism as it was back then, and how little has changed.

But don’t get me wrong. This movie requires you to take a good look at racism – both in yesteryears and today. It packs a serious punch and demands your attention about real events, especially at the end during a flashing of recent news headlines.

To be honest, I am not sure how I felt about the movie.

The acting was fantastic, the storyline was entertaining; I laughed, I cried; but I also walked out of the theater with such a heavy heart. And while that is neither a good or a bad thing, I am not entirely sure it’s why I go to the movies.

Focus Features will release BlacKkKlansman on Aug. 10.

Bianca Montes is the assistant editor/digital editor at People Newspapers. Out and About is a staff-generated blog that details our experiences in the community.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist with a background in crime and government reporting and an obsession with all things culture and arts. She serves as the Managing Editor for Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, curating content for the Living Well and Faith sections, as well as producing the Fall and Spring society sections and 20 Under 40. From luncheons to galas to exhibition openings to new Dallas restaurants, you can find her out and about on Instagram @Bianca_TBD or @peoplenewspapers. You can also reach her by email at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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