Published February 10, 2006
OXFORD, Miss. – Director Spike Lee, known for his stylish and controversial films, said Mississippi should get rid of the state flag during a speech at the University of Mississippi's Black History Month celebration.
Lee said Mississippians cling too tightly to what he considers symbols of oppression.
"You've gotta do something about that flag," he said. "I know people say its representative of history. Well, so's the swastika."
Lee is working on a documentary entitled "When the Levees Broke," which deals with the African-American experience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
He did not go into details of the film's focus. But he did say the movie was more difficult to film than "Four Little Girls," in which he interviewed the families of the four children who were killed in a church attack in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.
"When I saw the devastation on TV and in the news...it (didn't) prepare me for what I saw there," Lee said of New Orleans. "You hear these people's stories, and its heartbreaking."
"Levees" will be premiere on HBO on Aug. 29, exactly one year after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
Lee also targeted certain aspects of modern black culture during his speech.
Lee said that rap culture has perpetuated a cult of violence, drug use, disrespect to women and ignorance among a staggering portion of young blacks.
"This 'gangsta' obsession is madness," Lee said. "Thinking like that is genocide."