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  • BlacKkKlansman (2018):On the Right Side of History

Black Camera invites submissions for a Close-Up focused on Spike Lee's 2018 film BlacKkKlansman. Lee delivered a provocative speech in front of the 2019 Academy Awards ceremony when winning the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Loosely based on Ron Stallworth's recollections of his infiltration into the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, BlacKkKlansman exploits the paradoxical situation of its African American protagonist passing for a white supremacist to integrate the organization as a powerful source of humor and critique. Spike Lee uses the narrative to trace the roots of the Trumpian rhetoric in a history of nativist activism. Said Lee in a New York Times interview published January 22, 2019: "And I feel that many years to come, when historians search for a piece of art that clearly shows what is happening today, BlacKkKlansman will be one of the first things they look at because this film is on the right side of history."

Like every Spike Lee Joint film, BlacKkKlansman is controversial and at the epicenter of debates about cinema and politics. For example, the rapper, filmmaker, and activist Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You, 2018) tweeted sarcastic comments about the film's sympathetic portrayal of the police.

BlacKkKlansman revisits and invites discussion about the enduring influence of supremacist ideology in American political, social, and cultural life and Hollywood's long-standing complicity in racism, sexism, and patriarchy, as the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements substantiate.

We welcome for publication consideration essays, commentary, and interviews exploring BlacKkKlansman from diverse disciplinary and analytical perspectives.

Essays should not exceed 9,000 words; commentary and interviews, 4,000 words.

Suggested topics include:

  • • screening the KKK in Hollywood fare (from The Birth of a Nation to BlacKkKlansman)

  • • adapting BlacKkKlansman from written text to screen

  • • historical re-enactments in BlacKkKlansman

  • • on Spike Lee's cinematic style [End Page 3]

  • • re-reading Spike Lee, then and now—Black auteur, Black independent?

  • • Spike Lee and Black cinema—negotiating the Hollywood divide

  • • self-reflexive takes on Black cinema

Please submit completed essays, a 150-word abstract, as well as a 50–100 word biography by June 7, 2020. Submissions should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on the submission policy.

Direct all questions, correspondence, and submissions to guest editor Delphine Letort at [End Page 4]



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