Shelton Jackson "Spike" Lee (born March 20, 1957) is an American film director, producer, writer, and actor. His production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, has produced over 35 films since 1983.
He made his directorial debut with She's Gotta Have It (1983), and has since directed such films as Do the Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), The Original Kings of Comedy (2000), 25th Hour (2002), Inside Man (2006), and most recently Chi-Raq (2015). Lee has acted in ten of his own films.
Lee's movies have examined race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. Lee has received two Academy Award nominations, a Student Academy Award and an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and won numerous other awards, including an Emmy Award and the 2013 Gish Prize.
Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Jacqueline Carroll (née Shelton), a teacher of arts and black literature, and William James Edward Lee III, a jazz musician and composer. Lee also had three younger siblings Joie, David, and Cinqué, who all worked in many different positions in Lee's films. Director Malcolm D. Lee is his cousin. When he was a child, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York. During his childhood, his mother nicknamed him "Spike". In Brooklyn, he attended John Dewey High School.