For Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Spike Lee gave a campus audience some serious words about the civil-rights leader — and said many younger Americans don't know about the sacrifices made during the nation's struggles over race.
“So many people had to fight hard so this could be a national holiday,” he said. “Many young Americans, both black and white, have no idea of the blood, sweat and tears that were sacrificed so we could drink from a water fountain, sit down in a bus, have the right to vote.”
Lee, director of “Malcolm X,” “Jungle Fever” and “Do the Right Thing,” spoke to about 500 people Monday during Martin Luther King Day observances at Oakland University.
“I’m glad to be here on the day we honor Dr. King, a true giant, and it’s our responsibility to teach our children what the man was and how this is not just a day you don’t go to school,” Lee was quoted as saying in The Detroit News.
Lee, 48, urged parents to encourage their children to follow their own dreams and told his younger listeners to work toward careers they’re passionate about — citing his own as an example.
“I say my prayers every night because I get to do what I love,” The Oakland Press of Pontiac quoted the filmmaker as saying.
In one of several lighter moments in a 90-minute talk, Lee brought up Eminem’s wedding at nearby Meadow Brook Hall on Saturday. The Grammy-winning rapper, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, remarried Kim Mathers, his high school sweetheart.
“So I missed the wedding, huh?” said Lee. “I didn’t get an invitation. What’s up with that?”