Spike Lee just made history.
The award-winning filmmaker has just been named President of the Cannes Film Festival Jury, making him the first Black person to head the panel.
The annual film festival is the largest in the world and brings Hollywood’s elite to the French Riviera each May.
“In this life I have lived … my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be President of Cannes Jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Lee said in a statement.
“To me the Cannes Film Festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world — no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.”
The 63-year-old has had some favorable outcomes at the festival where his first film, She’s Gotta Have It won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the Director’s Fortnight in 1986. He has shown several of his films at the festival and his new role at the festival is promising news for an industry that has such a hard time highlighting Black talent.