It is not a coincidence that Spike Lee released his new film Blackkklansman on the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville riots which saw one woman killed who was merely protesting for a change in social justice. Blackkklansman is set in the midst of the 1970’s civil rights movement where Ron Stallworth becomes the first black detective on the Colarado Springs Police department. He sets out to prove his worth by infiltrating a local Ku Klux Klan gang and convinces his white Jewish colleague to go under cover within the group.
The film might be set in the 1970’s but, that is not what it is all about. Spike Lee ingeniously tackles head on hot topics in present day America such as racism, the police killings of black Americans and white supremacy which have been at the forefront of America’s identity especially since the last presidential election. Although some of the movie is comedic, Spike Lee describes the film as “ as very serious subject matters with humor. I’m not using the word ‘comedy.’’
In 2017 the KKK saw a boost in it’s memberships with 42 clans active in 22 states according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League. While some might question the coincidence that this coincides with President Trump’s succession into power? After the previous two presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush integration and globalisation policies, Trump seems to have taken a very different approach which saw nationalism and conflict with previous US allies in Europe and the west.
However, what is most interesting about the movie Blackkkklansman is that, while the film is based on real events from the past, it is most worrying how it ties well into present day today in the US. All this only a year after American elected its first black president. Only time will tell if this is, art imitating life or if America learned from this past in order to address its future?