Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983.
Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Jacqueline Carroll (née Shelton), a teacher of arts and black literature, and William James Edward Lee III, a jazz musician and composer. Lee also had three younger siblings Joie, David, and Cinqué, who all worked in many different positions in Lee's films. Director Malcolm D. Lee is his cousin. When he was a child, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York. During his childhood, his mother nicknamed him "Spike". In Brooklyn, he attended John Dewey High School.
"If we became students of Malcolm X, we would not have young black men out there killing each other like they're killing each other now. We'd not have the drugs we have now, or the alcoholism."
"I ain't Martin Luther King. I don't need a dream. I have a plan."
"Too many people are being bowled over by Bush and Tony Blair in Britain. It's ludicrous to expect the whole world to follow what they want."
"I collect names for characters. Names are valuable; they can be your first source of insight into a character."
"Critics like to build you up, tear you down, and then, if you're lucky, build you up again."
"Our greatness, our talent has never been the question. It's been a matter of grappling for control over what we do."
"Racism is when you have laws set up, systematically put in a way to keep people from advancing, to stop the advancement of a people. Black people have never had the power to enforce racism, and so this is something that white America is going to have to work out themselves. If they decide they want to stop it, curtail it, or to do the right thing... then it will be done, but not until then."
"It is really important that young people find something that they want to do and pursue it with passion. I'm very passionate about filmmaking. It's what I love to do."
"[To be fair, he did convert to Islam in prison and allegedly read the great works of Western literature. And though he failed to obtain his high school equivalency degree while spending three years behind bars, there were larger lessons to absorb at the Indiana Youth Center.] You hope he's learned something, ... I think eventually he'll speak out against abuse to women."
"People could not believe, especially the residents of the Ninth Ward, that there wasn't hanky-panky in the flooding."