By Joshua Burrell, Staff Writer
Morehouse College alumni Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee was awarded the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay of his film “BlacKkKlansmen” at the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24. His win made an uproar on Twitter that all Atlanta University Center schools should take pride in.
Lee has directed films for over 30 years, yet this is his first Oscar win and he was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for BlacKkKlansmen. The politics of award ceremonies only now beginning to recognize Black creatives is questionable, but today’s focus is understanding who should get to honor Spike Lee during his win
Spike Lee graduated from Morehouse College but completed most of his courses at Clark Atlanta University, yet after listening to Lee’s acceptance speech, everyone in the AUC should feel honored.
“My grandmother, Zimmie Shelton, was a Spelman College graduate,” Lee said. “ My grandmother who saved five years of social security checks to put her first grandchild, she called me Spiky Pooh; she put me through Morehouse College and NYU. Before the world tonight I give praise to my ancestors who built… we all connect to our ancestors.”
Zimmie Shelton was the daughter of an enslaved African-American and 1926 Spelman College alumnae. She was a teacher, community servant, and avid supporter of Spike Lee. It takes a family to raise a child and the entire AUC family helped raise Spike Lee, including Morris Brown College.
Regardless of his alma mater, all that matters is in Spike Lee’s win: Zimmie Shelton, the Lee the family, the AUC family and the Black community have collective reason to be proud.