By Kelcey Westmoreland and Devon Martinez, Staff Writers
BlacKkKlansman is the latest Spike Lee film telling the story of Ron Stallworth, the first ever black Colorado Springs Police Department’s detective who infiltrated the KKK in 1979 with the assistance of Jewish Officer Flip Zimmerman.
The story is true, although the author said in a recent presentation at PPCC, that the film “took some liberties” while the book “has all of the facts”.
For example, the movie claimed that he was the first black police officer for CSPD; he was also the first black police detective for the department.
The Paper had the opportunity to see and talk to Stallworth prior to his speech. He was the same person backstage as he was on stage. Nothing changed. He is genuine.
Stallworth shared his current thoughts on CSPD with The Paper, and compared it to the way the department was in the past.
“CSPD is a good department one of the finest in the country. This is by far the best department that I have worked with and seen,” he said.
Stallworth is a huge fan of Lee’s film. He knew that the story was in good hands due to Lee’s attention to detail and to his work. He admits to seeing the film over fifteen times.
He also appreciates the way Washington captured him on film.
“John David did not try to imitate me in any way, shape or form,” he said. “He captured my 25-year-old essence very well.”
Stallworth might not admit he is a special person. The reason for this is that he sticks to the truth and doesn’t care about what people think and he is prepared to answer difficult truths no matter what the situation is. According to several students, it was refreshing to hear a speaker tell people things that make them uncomfortable.
When someone described him as a hero Stallworth told them that he was just doing his job.
Laura Harrier plays Stallworth’s love interest and is the BSU president. She despises cops – especially black cops – calling them a “blaxploitation fantasy.”
To try to prove himself and to infiltrate the hate group here in our own town, Stallworth answers a Klan recruitment and talks about his hatred of blacks.
When the Klan has in person meetings, actor Adam driver, who plays a Jewish cop named Flip Zimmerman steps in his place.
A more comedic part of the movie is when David Duke, Klan leader, and Stallworth are trading bigotry jokes, while cops are listening and laughing. At this point the audience sees Stallworth’s character slip into isolation.
Though the movie is listed as a comedy, the themes and undertones are serious in ways that mirror today’s society, especially in lieu of racial tensions that currently plague America, which will leave some in the theaters uncomfortable.
On Thursday, Sept. 20, PPCC hosted a talk and book signing by Stallworth.
Students got a chance to have a live Q&A where he answered questions ranging from race to police work to the movie.
Blakkklansman is still in theaters and his memoir is holding on the New York Times Bestseller’s List at No. 10, after having spent a few weeks at No. 1.
Readers and viewers will feel the correlation with events that occurred almost 40 years ago and events happening now in this time piece film.