Ron Stallworth decided to punctuate the 70s with a spotlighted exclamation point. The statement spoke loudly in 1979— like the drumbeat under Flash’s “Superrappin.” And in true Hip-Hop fashion, this brave and pioneering Black police officer disrupted the status quo of Colorado Springs.
First he did by being the first African-American hired as a police cadet (later undercover officer) in that city, and then by infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan, becoming a member of the notorious hate group. Of course, his membership made many in that organization sick with embarrassment and made a fool of one of its most obnoxious and arrogant leaders, David Duke.
This really happened…
A Black guy during the end of the 70s, joined the KKK and had his membership certificate signed by the racist Duke himself. And while almost everyone thinks that their life should be made into a movie… this guy’s life really should’ve be made into a movie. Enter Jordon Peele and the one and only Spike Lee.
Peele (Executive Producer) and Lee (Co-Writer and Director) collaborated to bring this story to the big screen as the award winning BlacKkKlansman that is set to debut today. And while elite film festivals like Cannes and all of the trade ‘zines have boasted how dope this film is… we had to see it for ourselves, assess it through our unique cultural lens and see if it faired well against Spike’s classics like Malcolm X or Do The Right Thing.
We were not about to let “those” folks define what was poppin’ for us.
We saw it.
This movie was everything that we could have possibly hoped for and then some.
Let’s start with the cast.
Taking the lead is John David Washington. Morehouse man (no surprise, Spike’s films are riddled with Maroon Tigers). Former NFL Player (that’s a little shocking… who knew). Cinematic Legacy (His mom is Pauletta Washington and his dad Denzel). None of that matters… well it does but he didn’t need any of those things to validate him and or persuade critics to celebrate him in this role. He just was good. Real good.
Washington finessed this role and made us believe the Spikean interpolation of this biopic. Such strong presence on the screen, he made each and every other character in the film look a little less shiny …and let’s face it he was up there with some vets like Corey Hawkins, Topher Grace or Ryan Eggold that should have eclipsed him.
The Source was able to sit down and talk to leads John David (Ron Stallworth) and Laura Harrier (Patrice) to find out what made this film so special. The was light, yet respectful of the honor to rock these roles. Listen to both these millennials embrace the two-fold history of being in a Spike Lee Joint and acting in this period piece.