Writer, director, producer, actor and author Spike Lee spoke on campus Nov. 11 to a sold-out Murchison Performing Arts Center as part of UNT’s Fine Arts Series. Lee’s critical and box office successes have included such films as Inside Man, The Original Kings of Comedy and Bamboozled. He was first nominated for an Oscar in 1989 for his original screenplay for Do the Right Thing.
Lee spoke of his days as a student at Morehouse College and the summer of 1977, when he found inspiration from a Super 8 camera he’d received as a gift.
“Filmmaking found me,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was floundering. And I got blessed.”
He said he went from being unmotivated to being an A-plus student, and he encouraged UNT students to find their passion too.
“You don’t want to be positioned five, 10, 15 years from now where you’re miserable,” he said. “When you love what you do, that is not work. That’s why it’s key for students here to find what they love.”
Lee, who knew of only one African American director working in Hollywood when he became interested in filmmaking, said he learned that when you have a goal, you cannot surround yourself with negativity.
“Refuse to let obstacles hinder you,” he said. “You let nothing crush your spirit.”