The one-year anniversary of the deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville is coming up this weekend. In a new interview with Time magazine, Spike Lee discusses the rally, reflects on race in America and reveals that he was the first person to tell President Barack Obama of the event.
He says he was at his home in Martha’s Vineyard, where he was “glued” to the television, watching footage of the death of Heather Heyer. (The footage is used in his film BlacKkKlansman, also out this weekend. He says he secured permission to use the footage of Heyer, whom he calls a “martyr,” from her mother first).
Lee says he stepped out to his backyard, which is adjacent to the golf club Obama frequently plays at. He spotted members of the Secret Service, put two and two together and went over to find Obama.
“I said, Mr. President, did you hear what happened in Charlottesville? He hadn’t. I could see on his face — that shock. It was Aug. 12, year of our Lord, 2017.”
Later, Obama sent out a tweet about Charlottesville quoting Nelson Mandela, which became the most-liked in Twitter’s history at the time.