Exclusive: Spike Lee on the Most Important Images of Blackness He Saw as a Child

The famed director is working with Netflix.

Spike Lee is known for delivering some of the most iconic pro-Black cult classics in American film history, but before he earned his place as one of the cultivators of "the culture," Lee paid attention to other esteemed Black figures who helped mold him into the force we know today.

In Netflix's new initiative First Time I Saw Me, which tackles African-American representation in entertainment, Lee talks about the first images he saw as a child and how those impacted his growth.

"For me, growing up, I saw Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte. Then the Black exploitation era hit and I was not really a big fan of those exploitation films, you know?" he said. "I didn't want to grow up to be a pimp. The most important thing that happened to me was when I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It made me understand what it means to be a Black person in this country."

From Pointier to Malcolm X, Spike Lee studied the best of the best before joining the ranks of the greats, himself.

Take a look at the full clip, below:

Get more Spike Lee news with BET Breaks, above.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.