Film director Spike Lee shows off his award at the 91st Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California, the US, February 24 2019. Picture: REUTERS/DANNY MOLOSHOK
Film director Spike Lee shows off his award at the 91st Academy Awards in Beverly Hills, California, the US, February 24 2019. Picture: REUTERS/DANNY MOLOSHOK

Washington — US President Donald Trump on Monday accused veteran film director Spike Lee of a “racist hit job” after he won his first competitive Oscar and urged voters to mobilise for the next election.

Lee took home a statuette for best-adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, a stranger-than-fiction true story of an African-American police officer who managed to infiltrate the highest levels of the Ku Klux Klan.

In an impromptu address that referred to the US’s history of slavery and his own grandmother who graduated from college “even though her mother was a slave”, Lee did not mention Trump but urged voters to “be on the right side of history” in the 2020 presidential election.

“Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your president,” Trump tweeted.

The president boasted that he “has done more for African Americans [criminal justice reform, lowest unemployment numbers in history, tax cuts,etc.] than almost any other pres!”

In his comments, Lee gave “praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today”.

“We will have love and wisdom regained. We will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilise,” he said.

In an apparent reference to Trump’s divisive presidency, Lee urged voters to “make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”

That was a nod to his acclaimed 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, about simmering racial tensions in New York’s Brooklyn borough.

For more than 30 years, Lee has captivated audiences — and sometimes angered them — with his provocative, frank depictions of black America infused with his signature mix of entertainment, activism and rage.

His films often have had a political bent  such as Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Jungle Fever.

AFP