When people chant Black Lives Matter, and the streets swarm with uncountable heads, we are reminded not only of the diurnal incidents exploiting and discriminating the blacks, but we are constantly taken back through the pages of history, where white supremacy got legitimacy by the day, and the Ku Klux Klan established an unsaid exploitative justification of unfathomable acts disregarding the ‘colored’ or the ‘kikes’. When it’s Spike Lee who takes up the responsibility to introduce us to an era of the KKK hegemony, we need to be prepared to face the hard truth in a harsher way. The Lee joints are not films just to sit back and enjoy. They give you the power to raise our voice against the unbearable supremacy of the whites, which is getting into our nerves as we speak.
This film is based on the true incidents involving Ron Stallworth, an officer of the Colorado Springs Police, who infiltrates the Klan, taking help from Flip Zimmerman, a Jewish compatriot from his department. It shows us the core realities of the ‘organisation’, as we are introduced to a group of people whose only idea of existence is to purify America and make it ‘white’ from head to toe. David Duke’s early 1970s outlook is presented to us, where his hatred for the blacks gets a political sanction, making him a ‘respectable figure’. As the film comes to an end, we get to know that it’s been dedicated to Heather Heyer, the woman who died due to a brutal attack by the supremacists during the ‘Unite the Right’ rally on 12th August 2017, in Charlottesville. We hear the present President of the United States sympathising with the supremacists, marking some of them to be ‘fine men’. This is how the film turns out to be a part of a wider ethno-political protest movement. The upside down United States flag tells us that emergency is a looming reality in the country.
John David Washington and Adam Driver perform with so much truth, that their characters seem to protrude from their beings. These two actors are undoubtedly among the finest from Hollywood. Jaspar Paakkonen, being a Finnish, portrays the character of an American supremacist with a finesse that is unbelievable. You’ll never doubt his origins for even a split second. Laura Harrier and Topher Grace give the very necessary and powerful support.
Spike Lee has been one of the most powerful pallbearers of the right to speak up against the wrong through works of art. His films always speak about the prowess of raising one’s voice. His dreams, and visions, need a necessary fulfilment. He deserves a standing ovation from the world’s audience. The change might not come tomorrow, or the day after. But if you have the power to step against the wrong and towards the amendment, your steps will be added to create a burning fire, which will never go off. Lee is taking a step each day with millions of others. He calls us to join, and we are with him. We are with the fire.