The legendary filmmaker took the stage Sunday night to accept the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay alongside Kevin Willmott, David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel for BlacKkKlansman. After jumping into the arms of collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, who presented him the award, Lee, clad in purple, delivered a fiery speech the commemorate the moment, as well as this time in American history.
“I wanna thank Tonya, Jack and Satchel,” he started, honoring his wife and kids, later adding, “The date today is the 24th, the month, February, which also happens to be the shortest month of the year, which also happens to be Black History Month. The year 2019. The year 1619. History, her story. 1619, 2019, four hundred years our ancestors were stolen from Africa and brought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved. Our ancestors worked the land from can’t-see in the morning to can’t-see at night.”
“My grandmother … who lived to be a hundred years young, was a Spelman College graduate, even though her mother was a slave. My grandmother saved 50 years of Social Security checks, she called me Spikey Poo, she put me through Morehouse College and NYU grad film. NYU!”
He concluded with a powerful call to arms while also referencing one of his classic films.
“We all connect with out ancestors, who have love, wisdom, we regain our humanity,” he stated. “The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!”