Spike Lee (1957- ), the director, producer, and screenwriter, is known for his focus on civil rights and race relations. Born in Atlanta but raised primarily in Brooklyn, Lee studied at Morehouse College and Clark Atlantic University before receiving his MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1978. He began making films in 1977, with Last Hustle in Brooklyn, but did not achieve mainstream success until the premiere of She's Gotta Have It in 1986. His other films, many of which bring urban New York in the 80s and 90s vividly to life, include School Daze (1988), Mo' Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), He Got Game (1998), 25th Hour (2002), Invisible Man (2006), Miracle at St. Anna (2008), and Passing Strange (2009).
Lee received an Academy Award nomination for his original screenplay for Do the Right Thing (1989) and a second nomination for his documentary 4 Little Girls (1997). He also received the San Francisco Film Society's Directing Award in 2007. Lee, who owns his own production company, 40 Acres and A Mule, teaches film at NYC and Columbia. He is currently working on several projects, including a documentary about Michael Jackson, a sequel to Inside Man, and a biographical picture about James Brown.