Whatever Spike Lee does, it's never by accident. Well, that seemed to be, until he blurted out the Palme d'Or winner prematurely during the closing ceremony of this year's Cannes Film Festival. But was that really a mistake? And would Titane and its woman filmmaker Julia Ducournau be forever embedded in the consciousness of everyone on the ground, on social media and beyond if Lee hadn't made that "mistake"? Score one for an unconventional man and his wonderful way to turn everything he touches into something of value. When you google Spike Lee today, you'll find the blunder and the name of the film, mentioned in each and every article about the Cannes Jury President.
Lee's wardrobe and his choice to accent it all hand in hand with the beautiful Tonya Lewis, who has been his wife and companion since 1993, are a political statement. Some could argue everything Lee does, as a Black American, is a political statement and I wouldn't disagree. He knows the power of one, and in his case, one very visible, super important and quite outspoken human being. Lee is a woman's man and that is obvious in the chemistry he displays with his women co-jurors but also in the choice of awards the jury he presided over bestowed at this year's festival.
Plus, if you want to talk about climate change, there is no better way than through fashion -- one of the most damaging industries to our environment when it comes to waste.
For the Cannes Film Festival, Lee worked alongside Virgil Abloh to create a series of looks that would draw attention to the festival but also causes near and dear to Lee's heart. After a year of sweats and Zoom meetings it was wonderful to watch celebrities frolic up those iconic red steps and with Lee in the frame, our eyes were drawn to his colourful suits. While Lewis Lee exuded classical beauty -- true American classical beauty, Baby! -- Lee himself played with his fame and Louis Vuitton's fashions and the results were magical.
When you then blend in the classical French luxury LV brand, with the contemporary Black American style of Abloh, worn by an ever-controversial Lee, then the result is a cinematic-slash-fashion-bridge-building-slash-diplomatic mission of unity that can only be achieved at a festival like Cannes, in a year like 2021, by a duo of African American visionaries.
Not to mention those subliminal messages that sent the best of us searching for references in American history, like the black cap Lee wore at a photo call, embroidered with the numbers "1619" -- the year the first Africans arrived in Virginia, after having been kidnapped in what is modern-day Angola. But also, of course, the name of a long-form journalism series, the "1619 Project" developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones along with writers from The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine which "aims to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States' national narrative."
However you want to interpret it, the wardrobe donned by Lee is phenomenal. The fast fashion companies must already be falling all over each other to create highlighter fuchsia pink suits for men and Ethiopian silver crosses, to be worn with Nike sneakers. And what seems like an irreplicable multi-coloured sky printed suit which Lee wore on the closing night, when he made his now infamous "blunder". Yeah, let's call it that.