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Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman' continues to reverberate

Spike Lee on the set of
Spike Lee on the set of "BlacKkKlansman" with actor Adam Driver.
David Lee

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On today's show:

An incredible story made believable

(Starts at 8:50)

When Spike Lee first heard about the real life story of Ron Stallworth, the black police detective who infiltrated a Colorado chapter of the KKK in the 1970s, he couldn't believe it was true. After reading Stallworth's memoir and the script that had already been written for a film adaptation, Lee knew "BlacKkKlansman" was a story he wanted to tell. Along with his writing partner Kevin Willmott, Lee set about re-writing the script to connect Stallworth's story with the present day. When the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA turned deadly, the film was still in pre-production. Lee told The Frame he knew immediately that he wanted to add actual footage of the events as a coda to the film. The film just received a Writers Guild Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and Lee has been nominated for the top prize from the Directors Guild of America.

How does R. Kelly still have a career?

(Starts at 1:15)

The controversial singer and songwriter is the subject of a scathing docu-series on the Lifetime cable channel that explores decades of alleged sexual abuse by the singer and the music industry’s complicity. Los Angeles Times TV critic Lorraine Ali — also a former pop music critic — talks about the series and why the singer has been able to maintain his career.

The Count Basie Orchestra keeps going and going and going...

(Starts at 20:50)

Since its establishment in 1935, the Count Basie Orchestra has maintained its reputation as one of the most important jazz groups of all time. William "Count" Basie founded the group after a career as a pianist in Kansas City. Aside from a brief hiatus between 1948-1952, Basie himself remained leader of the group until his death in 1984. Scotty Barnhart is the sixth leader of the orchestra since Basie's death. Barnhart started off as a trumpet player in the band in 1993 and took the position as its director in 2013. The orchestra has a Grammy nomination this year in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for "All About That Basie." The Frame's John Horn spoke with Barnhart about conducting a band that's been in existence for 80 years, the style of the Count Basie Orchestra, and his love for the late bandleader.