SPIKE LEE QUOTES

American filmmaker (1957- )

Spike Lee quote

Those that'll tell don't know, and those that know won't tell.

SPIKE LEE, Do the Right Thing

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I may have been born yesterday, but I stayed up all night.

SPIKE LEE, Mo' Better Blues

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I've never seen black men with fine white women. They be ugly. Mugly dogs.

SPIKE LEE, interview, Playboy, 1991

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I don't think my films are going to get rid of racism or prejudice. I think the best thing my films can do is provoke discussion.

SPIKE LEE, interview, Cineaste, 1991

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Racism is when you have laws set up, systematically put in a way to keep people from advancing, to stop the advancement of a people. Black people have never had the power to enforce racism, and so this is something that white America is going to have to work out themselves. If they decide they want to stop it, curtail it, or to do the right thing ... then it will be done, but not until then.

SPIKE LEE, interview, 1990

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Tags: racism


Let me tell you the story of right hand-left hand. It's a tale of good and evil. Hate: it was with this hand that Cain iced his brother. Love: these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand--Love--is finished. But hold on, stop the presses; the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes now, that's right. Ooh, it's a devastating right and Hate is hurt. He's down. Left-Hand Hate KO-ed by Love.

SPIKE LEE, Do the Right Thing

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Tags: love


We've got to turn this backward thinking around where ignorance is championed over intelligence. Young black kids being ridiculed by their peers for getting A's and speaking proper English: that's criminal.

SPIKE LEE, Book of African-American Quotations

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Tags: ignorance


We grow up with white images all the time, in TV, in movies, in books. It's everywhere; you can't get around it. The white world surrounds us. What do white people see of black people? Look at the shit they have us do in movies: "Right on, jive turkey!"

SPIKE LEE, interview, Playboy, 1991

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Black people can't be racist. Racism is an institution. Black people don't have the power to keep hundreds of people from getting jobs or the vote. Black people didn't bring nobody over in boats. They had to add shit to the Constitution so we could get the vote. Affirmative action is about finished in this country now. It's through. And black people had nothing to do with that, those kinds of decisions. So how can black people be racist when that's the standard? Now, black people can be prejudiced. Shit, everybody's prejudiced about something.

SPIKE LEE, interview, Playboy, 1991

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As a writer I want everybody to get a chance to voice their opinions. If each character thinks that they're telling the truth, then it's valid. Then at the end of the film, I leave it up to the audience to decide who did the right thing.

SPIKE LEE, "Fight the Power: Spike Lee on Do the Right Thing", Rolling Stone, June 20, 2014

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Tags: writing


I don't think racism can be eliminated in my lifetime ... or my children's or grandchildren's. But I think it's something we have to strive for. I'm going to keep working toward that day coming.

SPIKE LEE, interview, Cineaste, 1991

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'Cause mo better makes it mo better.

SPIKE LEE, Mo' Better Blues

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If you have a talented family, you should be shot if you don't use them.

SPIKE LEE, interview, Film Comment, September/October 1986

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Tags: family


A lot of stuff that's on today is coonery and buffoonery, and I know it's making a lot of money ... and breaking records, but we can do better.

SPIKE LEE, "War Of Words: Tyler Perry Vs. Spike Lee", NPR, April 21, 2011

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I think it is very important that films make people look at what they've forgotten.

SPIKE LEE, Book of African-American Quotations

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My people, my people, what can I say; say what I can. I saw it but didn't believe it; I didn't believe what I saw. Are we gonna live together? Together are we gonna live?

SPIKE LEE, Do the Right Thing

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Sex and racism have always been tied together. Look at the thousands of black men who got lynched and castrated. The reason the Klan came into being was to protect white southern women.

SPIKE LEE, Book of African-American Quotations

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Tags: sex


Baby, you're so fine, I'd drink a tub of your bath water.

SPIKE LEE, She's Gotta Have It

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I swear before God ... and four more white people! This is the last time!

SPIKE LEE, Jungle Fever

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Violence is a part of America. I don't want to single out rap music. Let's be honest. America's the most violent country in the history of the world, that's just the way it is. We're all affected by it.

SPIKE LEE, attributed, Black Americans of Achievement: Spike Lee

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Tags: violence