BROOKLYN, NY (WABC) — Waaake up, wake up, wake up, wake up!
A new exhibit honoring Spike Lee opened this month in his home borough of Brooklyn.
The eye-opening exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, titled, “Spike Lee: Creative Sources,” speaks to the Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s unique place in American life and positions him, as The New York Times described, as a “defining figure in the Black community.”
Lee provided over 400 items collected over the years. “It’s stuff that tells the stories of these movies,” he tells Eyewitness News Entertainment Reporter Sandy Kenyon. “It’s my family.”
The director’s story began in Georgia, but the baby with spikey hair grew up in Brooklyn.
“We were the first Black family to move to Cobble Hill,” he shared.
Like “Mookie,” the beloved Bed-Stuy-bred character Lee plays in the 1989’s “Do the Right Thing,” he grew up in what was then a predominantly Italian-American neighborhood.
“You don’t forget that stuff,” Spike says. “It comes back.”
During the private tour with Kenyon, Spike revealed that most of the memories that fill the rooms of the exhibit comes from the office of his film company, 40 Acres and a Mule.
“The people who can’t get into my office can now see this: the art, the photography, the sports memorabilia that was on the walls,” he says.
His love of sports, and, of course, the New York Knicks in particular, is obvious.
Visitors will see many signatures, including one from Michael Jordan after the Knicks lost to his Chicago Bulls during one of their many famous clashes on the court.
But as far as his most treasured items, only one surpasses them all: a flag.
“This was signed to me. I’ll read it,” he said. “‘To Spike. Yours in struggle, Nelson Mandela.'”
The flag from the African National Congress, the A.N.C., was signed by Nelson and Winnie Mandela at a time when, to use Spike’s words, “Black people were still under the reign of apartheid” in South Africa.
“Spike Lee: Creative Sources” opened to the public Saturday, Oct. 7 and runs through Feb. 4, 2024. Tickets are available here.