Spike Lee recently directed a film for Netflix called Rodney King, which focuses not only on the brutal beating of King but the riots that followed in April and May of 1992, and in speaking about the film, the famed filmmaker opened up about his reaction to seeing the footage of King being beaten by the LAPD.
“There’s a very powerful photograph by Stanley Forman, it won the Pulitzer prize,” Lee tells the Guardian. “It’s of a black man being stabbed with the American flag – I had the same reaction to the Rodney King footage as when I saw that. The reaction was the same around the world, people were appalled – and appalled even more when that jury let those guys walk. Consequently, you had a – I’m not going to say ‘riot’ – let me say uprising.”
It’s been 25 years since those events took place, but Lee believes very little has changed. We’re still seeing people taking to the streets protesting police brutality as black lives are sacrificed by police.
“Just look at the fact that black men are still viewed as predators. That has not changed since Rodney King. Race is always going to be an issue in this country, and a lot of times people don’t want to deal with it and it bubbles underneath the surface, and every few years there’s a spark and it comes to the forefront,” Lee said.