Spike Lee to give lecture, culminating Tulane Black Arts Festival

Colin Mahar, Staff Reporter

Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee will speak at 8 p.m. Monday in McAlister Auditorium in coordination with the Tulane Black Arts Festival. Lee’s lecture will revolve around celebrating achievement in black art, culture and entertainment, which coincides with the overall theme of the festival itself. In anticipation for the event, Tulane University Campus Programming, the organization responsible for bringing Lee to Tulane as a keynote speaker, hosted a screening of his seminal film “Do the Right Thing” in Freeman Auditorium Tuesday.

“The natural trend that has happened organically [in our choosing of speakers] is the theme of activism and education,” TUCP Direction Chair Gabriella Runnels said. “[Students] want to hear from someone who has inspiring new ideas.”

In the past, TUCP has hosted lectures by public figures from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds. Within the past few years, keynote speakers have included LeVar Burton from Public Broadcasting Service series “Reading Rainbow,” “The Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and hip-hop mogul Common, among many others.

“Last year the direction committee brought Laverne Cox during the Black Arts Week by happy coincidence,” Runnels said. “She worked out really nicely as a speaker, so this year we intentionally scheduled our event to [coincide] with the festival.”

The themes of Lee’s films often focus on race relations in America and its effect on the national black identity. He is also known as an outspoken political and social critic. His lecture will undoubtedly touch upon his views regarding the struggle for racial equality and the importance of celebrating achievement in the black community. Lee’s lecture will serve as the finale to the Black Arts Festival, and thus serves as a way to bring together all of the attitudes and ideas the festival has promoted.

The lecture is free for Tulane students and $5 for the general public. All attendees must reserve a ticket online before the event, which can be done at tulanetickets.com.

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