On Friday, Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley reprehended the Spike Lee-directed film, BlacKkKlansman, in a lengthy essay. He accused the story of falsely depicting a law enforcement officer to be a hero in the fight against racial oppression.
In his spoiler-filled post, Riley proclaimed his admiration for Lee as a filmmaker before picking apart the movie’s inaccuracies. Although BlacKkKlansman is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, a Black detective (John David Washington) who infiltrated a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, the Chicago native believes it’s pushing an agenda by revising history.
“It’s a made up story in which the false parts of it try to make a cop the protagonist in the fight against racist oppression,” he wrote. “It’s being put while Black Lives Matter is a discussion, and this is not coincidental.”
Riley alleged that Lee received $200,000 from the NYPD to direct a campaign to help improve how people of color see police. He added that the movie “feels like an extension of the ad campaign.”
“[T]o the extent that people of color deal with actual physical attacks and terrorizing due to racism and racist doctrines — we deal with it mostly from the police on a day to day basis. And not just from White cops. From Black cops too. So for Spike to come out with a movie where a story points are fabricated in order make Black cop and his counterparts look like allies in the fight against racism is really disappointing, to put it very mildly,” he asserted.
The director went on to share history about the Stallworth’s involvement in the event. Riley said that the former Colorado Springs cop was a member of the FBI Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro), who was given orders “to destroy radical organizations, especially black radical organizations.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.