Home » Award-winning director, writer and actor Spike Lee to appear at Murray State

Award-winning director, writer and actor Spike Lee to appear at Murray State

Lee joins list of international, national figures keynoting Presidential Lecture Series

MURRAY, Ky. (Jan. 10, 2013) — Widely regarded as a premier African-American filmmaker, Spike Lee is the featured speaker for the 2013 Murray State University Presidential Lecture Series.

Spike Lee
Spike Lee

The lecture will be Monday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m., in Murray State’s Lovett Auditorium. The lecture is free. MSU students, faculty and staff, and the general public are encouraged to attend.

Fearless, honest and dedicated to his cause, Lee does not shy away from speaking his mind. In his lecture, “An Evening with Spike Lee: America Through My Lens,” Lee discusses the history, current status and future of America as he sees it. Touching on race relations, stereotypes in Hollywood, and social and political agendas, Lee leaves it all on the table as only he can.

Lee is a forerunner of the “do it yourself” school of independent film and an avid sports enthusiast, both of which inform his work. He recently completed a one-day, 18-camera documentary shoot focusing on NBA standout Kobe Bryant for ESPN. Another project, “Passing Strange,” a critically acclaimed Broadway musical, follows the travels of a young African-American musician in search of himself. Lee’s most recent theatrical release is “Miracle at St Anna.” Set in 1944, it chronicles the story of four black American soldiers who are members of the U.S. Army’s all black 92nd “Buffalo Soldier” Division, trapped behind enemy lines in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II.

These works come on the heels of diverse films such as “When the Levees Broke,” a groundbreaking documentary focusing on the plight of Americans stranded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and “Inside Man, The Original Kings of Comedy” and “Summer of Sam.” Lee’s films, “Get On the Bus,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Clockers” display his ability to showcase a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions, not only about race, but class and gender identity as well.

Lee released the film, “Red Hook Summer,” in 2012 and made his Broadway directorial debut with “Mike Tyson: Indisputed Truth.” He also toured “Bad 25,” a Michael Jackson documentary that was screened at the Venice Film Festival where he received the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker honor.

Lee’s debut film, the independently produced comedy “She’s Gotta Have It,” earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and set him at the forefront of the Black New Wave in American cinema. His second feature, the very profitable and critically acclaimed “School Daze,” helped launch the careers of several young black actors.

His 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film and Director awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Lee’s epic drama, “Malcolm X,” starring Denzel Washington, received two Academy Award nominations.

In addition to Oscar nominations for his work, Lee received an Emmy Award for his piece on Georgetown’s John Thompson for “HBO/Real Sports.”

Lee has also produced and directed music videos for artists as diverse as Chaka Khan, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, Public Enemy, Bruce Hornsby and the late Michael Jackson and Miles Davis.

In 1988, his commercial work began with the Nike Air Jordan campaign with basketball great Michael Jordan. His ventures include commercials for Levi’s, AT&T, ESPN, American Express, Snapple and Taco Bell.

He has authored six books on the making of his films and created Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency.

Planning is under way for a Spike Lee Film Festival leading up to the Presidential Lecture Series this year. The festival will be sponsored by the MSU President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). Information on the screenings will be available at a later date.

The Presidential Lecture Series is sponsored by the MSU president’s office, the MSU Foundation and the PCDI.

Former speakers in Murray State’s prestigious Presidential Lecture Series include James Carville and Mary Matalin, Ben Stein, Desmond Tutu, Richard Norton Smith, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Benazir Bhutto, Lech Walesa and F.W. deKlerk.