Filmmaker Spike Lee said he doesn’t feel “much has changed” in the NFL because former American football player Colin Kaepernick was not reinstated after kneeling during games to protest injustice racist in the USA.
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sparked a heated debate in 2016 over kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, with former US president Donald Trump calling on the NFL to ban any player who did not stood for the song to be repeated. .
Award-winning director and writer Lee, 65, is directing an upcoming multi-series documentary on Kaepernick that will tell the former NFL player’s story from his perspective.
Attending a ceremony in London on Monday where he is being awarded a BFI Fellowship, he told the PA news agency that he missed Sunday’s Super Bowl and Rihanna’s half-time performance as he was flying to the UK at the time.
When asked if he felt the football industry had changed, he said: “Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job in the NFL, so I wouldn’t say much has changed.
“Look, there are positive changes but there is still much more work to be done, the struggle continues.”
Barbadian singer Rihanna, who performed a 13-minute medley of her greatest hits during the football game, refused to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Kaepernick.
Reflecting on receiving a BFI Fellowship, which is the highest honor the British Film Institute can bestow, Lee told PA it felt “great”.
The writer, actor and director also said he would be dedicating the award to his “beautiful wife of 30 years” Tonya Lewis Lee, his children, his siblings, his father and the New York Knicks.
Lee is known for films including Da 5 Bloods and BlacKkKlansman, which won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 2019.
His work usually deals with controversial social and political issues.
He was also awarded an Academy Honorary Award in 2016 and a special Bafta award in 2002 for his contribution to cinema.
Lee told PA that he couldn’t pick one notable project because he was “proud of the work” he’s done in his career and is motivated to continue because he feels “there aren’t many people on this Earth to do. a life doing what they love”.
He added: “I’m in my fourth decade, that’s mental work. I am just very blessed. I feel that I have been blessed with many blessings and I am grateful for that.
“I realize it could have gone a different way so I’m looking forward to tonight.”
The filmmaker also runs tutorials and revealed that his main advice to students is that they need to be “committed”.
He said he tells them: “(If) you’re dealing with this glamour, you’re not going to survive. I hope you are here because you love cinema and you want to tell stories.”