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Um, Spike Lee’s new film features KKK chanting “America First”

Um, Spike Lee’s new film features KKK chanting “America First”

What: The first trailer for BLACKkKLANSMEN.

Who: Director Spike Lee and producer Jordan Peele, along with stars John David Washington and Adam Driver.

Why we care: At the dawn of Trump’s presidency, one popular theory held that the next four years would be filled with brilliant art forged in the fires of chaos, hate, and systematic injustice. While the ensuing 18 months has seen some arch satire slip through, most of this art, so to speak, is more along the lines of Joe Scarborough’s actual album, A Very Drumpf Christmas. However, legendary filmmaker and punctuation iconoclast Spike Lee just rolled out the trailer for BLACKkKLANSMEN, an incendiary new film that appears to offer a bit of commentary for these uncertain times.

BLACKkKLANSMEN tells the true story of  Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who has a complicated plan to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Along the way, he ropes in another detective, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), to assist in the mission. The reason that the film, with its early-’70s setting and vibe, feels so relevant right now, is that the KKK was on a mission (then as ever) to make its violent, hateful message appeal to the mainstream. As we saw with last year’s deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which the president could never seem to unequivocally denounce, the current administration seems pretty tolerant of far right fringe movements. Lest that point be lost on viewers, Lee’s trailer ends with a roomful of klansmen chanting “America First”–a phrase popularized by Nazi sympathizers in World War II before it was resurrected by Trump.

BLACKkKLANSMEN is out in theaters August 10.

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