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CANNES, FRANCE - JULY 06: Jury president and Director Spike Lee attends the "Annette" screening and opening ceremony during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 06, 2021 in Cannes, France.

Spike Lee is making history as the first Black Jury Lead at the Cannes Festival. The Oscar-winning film director started the festival in a memorable hot pink suit and his signature specs. 

Lee’s first film She’s Gotta Have It debuted at the Cannes Festival in 1986. The film didn’t win the top jury prize but Lee says that he doesn’t claim that as his most memorable moment at the festival. “One of my most memorable Cannes had nothing to do with film,” Lee told Variety. “It was back in the 1990s, when the New York Knicks were good. We were in the NBA finals. I flew from Nice to New York for a game and came back. The Knicks lost that game.”

During the press conference, Chaz Ebert spoke on behalf of her late husband, the legendary film critic Roger Ebert, who was a fan of Lee’s Do The Right Thing.

“I want you to know that I have a very special place in my heart for Roger, and you know that,” Lee said to Chaz. “That was not a popular decision what he felt about the film. A lot of people felt that, especially American press, said this [would] start race riots all over America.”

Lee, who is known for his activism and highlighting Black stories, also touched on the current relationship between Black people in law enforcement during the press conference in relation to his previous work.

“I wrote [Do The Right Thing] in 1988. When you see brother Eric Garner, when you see King George Floyd murdered, lynched. I think of Radio Raheem,” Lee continued. “And you think and hope that 30 mother-f—ing years later, Black people would stop being hunted down like animals. So, I’m glad to be here, though.”

The Cannes Festival started yesterday (July 6, 2021) and runs through July 17, 2021.