Emmy award-winning and Academy Award-nominated film director, producer, writer and actor Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee has been confirmed as the featured speaker at the 2009 B.E. Small Business Awards Luncheon, hosted by Ariel Investments. The event is an annual high point of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, hosted by General Motors and ExxonMobil, to be held May 17-20, 2009 at the Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center in Detroit, Mich.
In addition to being among the most recognized and celebrated film makers of his generation, Lee has established an admirable track record as one of the most talented guerilla marketers in American business and one of the sharpest business minds in the film industry. That reputation began with his first film, She’s Gotta Have It. Shot in two weeks on a budget of $175,000, the film grossed more than $7 million at the U.S. box office when it was released in 1986. That initial success also resulted in Lee launching a career as director of commercials for products such as Nike, Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
Since 1983, Spike Lee has produced more than 35 films noted for focusing on thought-provoking social and political issues, through his production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks. An alumnus of Morehouse College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Lee also teaches film at New York University and Columbia University.
Each year, the Black Enterprise Small Business Awards recognizes America’s best small businesses in four categories:
The Teenpreneur Award recognizes a young entrepreneur or group, age 19 or younger, committed to advancing at young age the rich tradition of black business achievement.
The Innovator of the Year Award is given to a business flourishing in an innovative industry or approaching business/entrepreneurship in a groundbreaking manner via their products and/or services.
The B.E. Next Award is presented to the fearless young entrepreneur age 21-35 tapped to be a future business leader.
The Small Business of the Year Award is presented to the small business owner whose efforts and/or entrepreneurial pursuits exemplify the passion and commitment needed to overcome adversity as well as attain success.
The editors of Black Enterprise have selected three finalists for each category of the award. These outstanding small business people are profiled in the Enterprise section of the May 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine. Click here for the finalists of the 2009 Black Enterprise Small Business Awards.
Alfred A. Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com