A Seat At The Table: Spike Lee Makes History As First Black President Of Cannes Film Festival Jury

Spike Lee has just made history as the first Black filmmaker to lead the Cannes Film Festival jury.

Lee, 62, is making a mark in Cannes Film Festival history as the first Black president of its jury. “I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named President of the Cannes Jury and of the main film festival,” the Oscar-winning director said in a statement. “My biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected when they happened out of nowhere,” Lee continued. “I was shocked, happy, surprised, and proud, all at the same time.”

The festival announced the news via Twitter with a captioned photo of Lee that read: “Welcome to Spike Lee as President of the Jury of the 73rd Festival de Cannes! Cannes is a natural homeland for those who (re)awaken minds. Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up. What kind of President will he be? Find out in Cannes!” The festival’s organizers said they are looking forward to seeing how Lee will “shake things up” at May’s event. “Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re)awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas,” festival organizers said in a statement.

Lee has been behind some of America’s all-time classic like “Do The Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “Jungle Fever,” and more. Lee’s new position also is a total 180 for the director who presented his first feature film “She’s Gotta Have It” to the festival back in 1986. Lee has presented six films to the festival which include “Do The Right Thing,” “Jungle Fever,” “Girl 6,” “Summer of Sam,” “Ten Minutes Older” and “BlacKkKlansman.”

Lee says that the festival was one of the platforms that helped his career take off. “To me, the Cannes Film Festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world – no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema,” Lee said.

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