Hollywood 2021: Spike Lee’s Children as Golden Globes Ambassadors

Golden Globes Ambassadors Satchel and Jackson Lee Recall Realizing Spike Lee Was Famous: “I Thought My Dad Was Just a Big Knicks Fan”

 

“It’s great having a mentor that you can collaborate with,” says Jackson Lee, who often works with sister Satchel.
Julien Mitchell/Courtesy of Subject

 

The children of Spike Lee talk about growing up with their filmmaker father, forging their own careers in the arts, which causes get their Golden Globes Ambassador grants.

Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee’s children, Satchel and Jackson, this year’s Golden Globes Ambassadors, were raised to be unafraid of self-expression.

Satchel, 26, is frank when discussing institutional inequities facing black and LGBTQ people.  Jackson, 23, is an optimist quick to credit his mentors (which include his big sister).

Realizing parents were a big deal?

Jackson Lee: It was in fourth grade when Inside Man came out. All my friends came to school on the Monday after, and they were like, “Oh my God, your dad’s movie’s amazing!” I loved seeing my dad working, but I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of it. I thought my dad was just a big Knicks fan, honestly, because on the street everyone was all like, “Oh, Spike! How ’bout the Knicks?”

Growing up in a public family?

Satchel Lee: We went to private schools our entire life, and I think it’s very difficult to be a black person — or anybody outside the majority — in those predominantly white institutions. I know how hard our parents worked to make sure we were getting the education we got and also being treated right by the teachers and the schools.

Jackson Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee, Spike Lee, and Satchel Lee
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Career goals?

Jackson: At first, I kind of pigeonholed myself to photography. Anthony Causi, a New York Post photographer who passed away from COVID, was a dear friend and mentor who taught me pretty much everything I know about still photography at Knicks games. But having a father who’s in multiple mediums — he does film, sneakers, clothing — showed me I don’t have to do just one thing.

Satchel: If I had to define my dream job, I’ve always said from a young age that I just want to be a Gertrude Stein-type of person. I want to know everybody, I want to know what you’re working on, I want you to tell me how I can help make that a possibility.

Most valuable advice by parents?

Satchel: Our father has always told us to do what we want and not really listen to what anybody else thinks — including him and my mother, which then becomes somewhat of a Catch-22, but the advice is still good. And our mom’s always been about teaching me to look out for myself, which is probably the most important lesson you can teach someone.

Why you chose your organizations to receive the HFPA grant.

Satchel: I chose Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City, which treats over 18,000 patients a year. There’s so much medical mistrust between the queer community and doctors and hospitals, so this type of place is really imperative.

Jackson: I chose Big Brothers Big Sisters because of their work mentoring young creatives, especially young people of color.