Spike Lee’s Masterclass At The 2021 Cannes Festival

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readJul 8, 2021

The legendary director’s perspective on his magnum opus and 21st Century America.

Spike Lee at the Tribeca via Wikimedia Commons

A few months ago, I wrote an article about Spike Lee’s magnum opus — “ Do the right thing”. In the write-up, I paid extraordinary tribute to Mr. Lee’s phenomenally powerful creative skill, in weaving together various strands of Black lives on a particularly swelteringly warm day.

I also wrote about the searing relevance of the film that was made in 1989 to the America of 2021, where we have had to deal with life imitating art in the most tragically cruel and ugly way.

I drew a parallel between Radio Raheem, played by the late Bill Nunn and the events of May 2020, when George Floyd was lynched in broad daylight, thus leading to world wide protests and the renewed prominence of the Black lives matter movement.

Little did I know that this seminal event would be evoked by the legendary film director, yesterday.

At the ongoing Cannes film festival, Spike Lee spoke about his film and the reaction to it, back in 1989, he also reminisced about the predictions that people made that the film would cause riots throughout America, upon release to the wider populace.

Then he went on to point out the uncanny similarities, between radio Raheem and Eric Gardener and George Floyd and the fact that African Americans, today are still being killed and lynched in 2021, all around the United States.

Spike Lee’s comments about the state of America today, since the release of “Do the right thing’ in 1989, does compel one to conduct a bit of a review of his past films and appreciate the profound genius and greatness of a man who has directed features, which remain etched in the minds of Black people around…

Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible