This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
After 30 years in the business, Spike Lee was finally honored by the Academy Awards with his first Oscar (Best Original Screenplay) for BlacKkKlansman The Forty Acres and a Mule director must have known that it was going to be his time to shine, because he certainly did not waste his moment.
On the red carpet, Lee shouted out the Black designers he was wearing, revealing that he was in a purple suit created by Ozwald Boateng. Boateng is the former Creative Director for Givenchy Men’s and created clothing for the Oscar-winning Black Panther film. Around his neck, he wore Prince’s symbol, which the late, legendary briefly adopted as his name, created by jewelry designer Amedeo Scognamiglio. And on Lee’s feet were a pair of sneakers designed by Tiner Hatfield, and commissioned by Michael Jordan. Lee’s rings were a throwback to his 1989 classic, Do The Right Thing.
“I told Ozwald to make my pants high-waters so they see the Jordans,” Lee told The New York Times a few days ahead of the Oscars. “I don’t care what nobody’s wearing. I win the Oscar on the red carpet. Men, women, I don’t care if they’re wearing 15-inch heels. They can’t be messing with the Jordans I’m going to be wearing. I’m going to be as clean as the board of health. I’m going to be sharp as a razor.”
Prince was Lee’s longtime friend — and the musician’s trademark color, of course, was purple. As The Times notes, “Lee and Prince first met when the musician, impressed by the director’s 1986 debut feature film, She’s Gotta Have It, flew him out to Paisley Park in Minnesota, around the time that Prince was working on the film Graffiti Bridge. There was an immediate sense of understanding between the two men. They remained close, despite not seeing each other very often.”
Lee’s tribute to Prince is significant because, as Lee tells the NYT, “he believes that the musician’s spirit helped him to find the version of ‘Mary Don’t You Weep,’ sung by Prince, that plays at the end of BlacKkKlansman, as scenes from the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., conclude the film.”
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