US president Donald Trump has criticised Spike Lee for his acceptance speech at the 2019 Oscars.
The Republican leader called the address, which touched on the United States’ history of racism and slavery, a “hit” on his presidency.
Lee, who won his first Oscar on Sunday night for BlacKkKlansman, called for the American people to “mobilise” for the upcoming Presidential Election in 2020. President Trump will be seeking re-election for a second term in office, and although his opponent is yet to be chosen for the race, Lee says the vote will be a “moral choice between love versus hate”.
Trump has accused the director of producing a racist diatribe against him, and claimed he has done more for African Americans than almost any other president in US history.
Read his full speech below:
“The word today is ‘irony.’ The date, 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. 400 years.
“Four hundred years. Our ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa and bought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved. Our ancestors worked the land from can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night. My grandmother, [inaudible], who lived to be 100 years young, who was a Spelman College graduate even though her mother was a slave. My grandmother who saved 50 years of social security checks to put her first grandchild — she called me Spikie-poo — she put me through Morehouse College and N.Y.U. grad film. N.Y.U.!
“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today along with the genocide of its native people. We all connect with our ancestors. We will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilise. 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.”
Lee won Best Adapted Screenplay for his 2018 drama BlacKkKlansman which tells the true story of a black undercover policeman who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. The film ends with a damning sequence that shows racism and hatred is alive and well in the 2010s.
It shows footage from the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and President Trump’s comment afterwards that said there were “fine people on both sides” of the rally and counter-rally in Charlottesville. It also pays tribute to Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter protestor, who was mown down by a car driven by alt-right activist Alex Fields Jr., who is facing hate crime charges.