Not everyone thinks this is a fitting anthem for the black experience. Nina Simone, renowned jazz singer and civil rights activist, thought her own tune "Young, Gifted And Black
" was more revolutionary. Her daughter, Lisa, explained: "I can remember her telling me, 'You need to know where you come from, and you need to know these words."
Likewise, Public Enemy clashed with Spike Lee when the director wanted them to reinterpret the song for the 1989 film Do The Right Thing
. Hank Shocklee, the hip-hop group's producer, recalled to Blender
in 2002: "I had a three-hour fight with him. It was heated. I was in his office on DeKalb Street in Brooklyn, and I'm saying, 'Spike, kids don't listen to 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.' Open this window, stick your head outside and listen to the kind of sound that you hear comin' out of cars and boxes. It's the spirit of the streets that you wanna convey.'"
Ultimately, Lee made a compromise. The film opens with a 30-second instrumental of "Lift Every Voice And Sing" by sax player Branford Marsalis before exploding into Public Enemy's defiant anthem "Fight The Power