Cannes is doing the right thing this year for its upcoming film festival by announcing the appointment of the iconic director, Spike Lee, to lead the jury.
The news comes following the melanin deficient and women-less Oscar nominations pretty much confirming Hollywood still has some work to do in the diversity department. Cannes says its appointment of the outspoken director was to “shake things up” at this year’s festival.
Speaking on being selected, Lee added that he was “honored to be the first person of the African diaspora” to lead the Cannes Film Festival jury, making him the first Black person in the event’s 73-year history to hold the prestigious position. Speaking on France’s RTL radio, the festival’s organizer Thierry Fremaux called Lee’s appointment a “message of universality.” He further added that the decision wasn’t a political one while pointing out that Black artists are severly underepresented in the world of cinema.
Lee himself is no stranger to Cannes, several of his films have been shown at the film festival. His latest project, BlacKkKlansman took home the festival’s major prize two years ago and recieved a standing ovation after it was shown. Do The Right Thing was also screened for attendees back in 1989.
This is indeed a step in the right direction and hopefully the entire film world takes notice. Speaking with the Associated Press, Louis-Georges Tin pointed out that arts world feels “it is above questions of discrimination” further stating “the #MeToo campaign showed that sexism is all too present in the arts world. And racism is too.” Tin hopes Lee’s appointment will push French cinenma to take a hard look at how it treats minorities.
We hope so too, big congrats to Spike Lee.
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