Spike Lee's Children on Following in His Filmmaker Footsteps and His Life Lessons (Exclusive)
By Jackie Willis
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Satchel and Jackson Lee say their dad, Spike Lee, was the last to find out that they were this year's Golden Globe Ambassadors. The filmmaker's 26-year-old daughter and 24-year-old son spoke with ET's Nischelle Turner about what they've learned from their famous father and how they're following in his footsteps while also paving their own way.
Jackson recently directed the short film Thompson Farms, which opened last year's 2020 HollyShorts Film Festival, while his sister has taken an interest in producing.
"I flirted with the idea of directing, I still don't know," Satchel admits. "I enjoy working with actors, I enjoy being on set, I love the collaborative process, but I am more of a producer I would say."
As for how their father reacts to their work, Jackson tells ET that Spike looks at their projects from a director's point of view which "elevates all of my skills."
"He very much looks at things like a director," Satchel adds. "I remember I showed him something in school and he was like, 'I don't understand that shot there.' I think that was the last time I showed him something."
While she's not always looking for her 63-year-old dad's input, Satchel does value some life advice he's given her and her brother.
"He did an assembly at my high school. ...He said, 'Parents kill more dreams than anyone else,' -- which I think is true and it's interesting to hear that from my parent," she notes. "...That's important for me to hear because it just means that you need to follow your own heart. You need to follow your intuition, you have to know what it is that you want and believe in yourself. And if you can do that, then you can make anything happen for yourself."
Jackson adds, "I think what both of my parents [Spike Lee and and producer Tonya Lewis Lee] instilled in us from a very early age is that anything you want, as long as you're willing to put in the work and dedication into it, you can make happen. I think my sister and I really embodied that and I think that's something we apply to all aspects to our lives."
Satchel also admits that being Spike's daughter can come with the pressure to be great. "I want to create a legacy or continue a legacy that [my parents] can be proud of but I also need to be true to myself," she shares. "I think whatever that truth is really, will be in line with our father's legacy, our mother's legacy. It just sometimes can be tricky to figure it out -- but it all works out in the end."
Part of building that legacy will come with Satchel and Jackson taking the stage as ambassadors at the Golden Globes. Jackson will make history as the show's first Black male ambassador.
Among their duties, the brother and sister will assist at the ceremony and work to raise awareness around the philanthropic causes of their choosing.
Satchel will focus her efforts on the issue of expanding healthcare for LGBTQIA+ communities, while Jackson is looking to bring awareness to youth mentorship in underserved communities. Satchel chose to partner with Callen-Lorde, an organization that has transformed the lives of LGBTQIA+ communities in New York City through comprehensive, judgment-free care, research and education. Jackson chose to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network. Both organizations will receive a grant from the HFPA for $25,000, totaling $50,000 made on the Lee family's behalf.
Satchel and Jackson tease that viewers should expect a few surprises when the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, airs live on NBC Sunday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. ET from The Beverly Hilton Hotel.