Trump feuds with Spike Lee over Oscars speech

By KEVIN STOLL
On March 4, 2019

Photo courtesy of David Shankbone, Wikipedia

Last Sunday, almost 30 million people throughout the nation tuned in to watch this year’s celebration of cinema with the 91st Academy Awards. Unfortunately, even on an elegant night like the Oscars, there was no stopping the apparent “political wrath” of President Donald Trump. 

After Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson gave the “Best Adapted Screenplay” award to Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman,” Lee immediately went into a heartfelt and passionate speech. 

“The word today is irony. The date, the 24. The month, Feb., which also happens to be the shortest month of the year, which also happens to be Black History Month. The year, 2019. The year, 1619. History. Her story. 1619. 2019. 400 years.” 

He brought up his grandmother, who was a graduate from Spelman College even though her own mother was technically a slave. More importantly, however, he brought up how she saved 50 years of social security checks in order to put her first grandchild through college. 

However, before finishing his speech, Lee made a comment about the upcoming 2020 presidential election, stating that we as a nation must “mobilize” so that we can be on the “right side of history.” 

“Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!” which was a reference to his influential 1989 film “Do The Right Thing.” 

Spike’s comment about the 2020 presidential election is what caused Trump to essentially fight back on Twitter.

“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, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts,etc. [sic]) than almost any other Pres!” Trump tweeted. 

First of all, just because Lee was talking about racism to a public audience, doesn’t automatically make what he is saying racist. 

There is also no denying that Trump has voiced his own insensitive comments in regards to recent events, and that, more than anything else, was what motivated Lee to make that specific comment in the first place. 

“BlacKkKlansman” ends with footage of the infamous white supremacist rally that occurred in Charlottesville back in August of 2017, an event in which the President himself eventually believed that there was “blame on both sides.”

The fact that Trump is publicly acknowledging the fact that he is the “bad guy” of Lee’s speech is not necessarily giving Americans faith in the possibility that Trump has a plan of action in order to change that widespread belief. 

Trump, if anything, should be used to public backlash from not only internet users, but mainstream celebrities that simply don’t agree with his methodology and overall attitude in regards to his influence on America’s political agenda. 

The fact that Spike Lee is now using his voice shouldn’t cause Trump to lash out on Twitter. Then again, considering the number of tweets posted under his account almost every day, maybe this is somewhat expected of him. 

So in the end, did Trump go just a little too far? I would certainly say so. Lee’s speech was empowering to say the least, and considering the hundreds of negative comments that Trump already receives from the public media, this doesn’t seem even remotely warranted.

 

kstoll3@ramapo.edu

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