Spike Lee - Honorees - The Gordon Parks Foundation

Spike Lee is a notable writer, director, producer, actor, and author who revolutionized the landscape of independent cinema and the role of black talent in film. Widely regarded as a premiere African-American filmmaker, Lee is a forerunner in the “do it yourself” school of filmmaking. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, Lee attended Morehouse College. After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn to continue his education at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his MFA in film production. He founded 40 ACRES AND A MULE FILMWORKS, based in Brooklyn, where he has resided since childhood. His debut film, She’s Gotta Have It, earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award at the Cannes Film festival in 1986. His second feature, School Daze, helped launch the careers of several young black actors. Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X received Academy Award nominations. Lee’s documentaries When the Levees Broke and If God’s Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise received the prestigious Peabody Award. In addition to his film achievements, Lee has produced and directed numerous music videos. Lee’s commercial work began in 1988 with his NIKE AIR JORDAN campaign. He has also authored six books on the making of his films. His extensive creative experience has evolved into yet another venture: partnering with DDB NEEDHAM, he created SPIKE/DDB, a full-service advertising agency.



"Gordon Parks was my hero as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn."