Grammy-winning musician and actor Lenny Kravitz and Oscar nominated director/producer Lee Daniels are set to appear on next Saturday’s episode of “Iconoclasts,” the Sundance Channel’s acclaimed documentary series. They discuss race, their upbringings, upcoming projects and ongoing collaborations. Daniels’ shared some pretty complex issues from his upbringing, including how his father tried BEATING the gay out of him.
It sounds harsh, but Daniels says he actually loved his father for trying because he believes he was only wanted an easier life for him. Check out some quotes from the show below:
Lee Daniels on his Childhood and Father:
“My childhood was not a nice one. The only peace I found was alone, writing, drawing. There were things I saw that I wish I hadn’t. My dad, he was a cop. He was murdered in the line of duty but he lived his life violently and he died violently. He lived in a time where racism was rampant and he was not a man. So he came home and took all that out on people he loved most where he could feel like a man. I brought all that to life in my films… I heal myself from some of the stuff that’s happened in my past. I think that my dad beating me, I knew that he was wrong. I knew that he was wrong when I came down the steps in my mother’s high heels and my hands on my hips and I was five and he was sitting there at the dining room table with all his cop friends playing poker. I knew when he beat me that day there was nothing wrong with me at all. Something’s wrong with you buddy that you don’t get it! It only motivated me to succeed.
“It was hard for me to forgive my father but he knew no better and he really wanted a good life for me. And he thought that if his son was gay that he would not have a good life and so he thought could beat it out of me and I love him for his attempt (laughs). I don’t know whether my hind sight did. But I love him for wanting the best for me… He didn’t hate me.”
Daniels must be very strong to be able to look at the situation the way he does — it should tell us a lot about his character and why he’s been able to thrive and be successful after experiencing that kind of childhood trauma.
Lee Daniels on his Success in the Industry:
“I became familiar with Hollywood and the way it works. So I decided to create my own world, hence Monsters Ball… I showed them who was boss. I’ve been very blessed but I can’t chalk this up to luck. I chalk it up to my faith. And there’s been an angel helping me throughout this because it doesn’t happen like that…Hollywood likes to bring you up to tear you down. I don’t take the success part of it seriously. I start from scratch on each film. I put my soul into just trying to tell an honest story.”
Lee Daniels on His Acclaimed Film Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire:
“It’s a lot to let go of…It is a lot. That was a 355lb baby- literally and figuratively- physical birth. I miss it. I originally thought that Precious was going to go straight to DVD. You get caught up into what studio presidents tell you- that it’s a special film, that it’s a very small group of people that want to see this movie. So I said ok, well we’ll just put it into DVD but it’s going to be bang-ass because I knew it was going to be good. I had no idea that it was going to do what it was going to do. Like they said you’re going to get an Oscar nomination for best director. And I really… I…. yeah (laughs). It’s nice. It’s really nice. It’s very humbling. Because with all the bravado that I carry on set and in my life I’m very insecure about what it is I’m doing and I want to be liked.”
Lee Daniels on His New Film In Progress Selma:
“This is really treading on some terrain that I haven’t tread on before and I want to live up to it. We have the actors in place, the crew I want in place and the money more importantly.”
It should be interesting to see how Selma turns out, especially with such a controversial director behind the wheel.
Here’s a few choice quotes from Lenny Kravitz as well…
Lenny Kravitz on Racism:
“I was never aware of color to begin with because I grew up in a household with a white father and a black mother. Only time it got weird was when I was trying to make my music which made no sense to me, you know? They couldn’t understand this African American with this Jewish name, looking the way I did, with this music. They couldn’t understand it.”
Lenny Kravitz to Lee Daniels on Precious:
“You’ve opened this whole new world up to me that I was waiting for. Over the last 20 years that I’ve been making music. I’ve been offered a lot of roles but I found everything that I was being offered, it was always based on me being this person, Lenny Kravitz, who I am, but it was always sort of associated with what comes with that. And then to come and work with you, I found it to be refreshing. Like, I dig it. The more you pushed the more I enjoyed it.”
If you experienced the kind of abuse that Lee Daniels did, do you think you’d have the same attitude toward your parents as Lee did? Do you think some of his insecurities comes from the things his father said to him as a kid?
Will you be tuning in Saturday?
Iconoclasts airs on Saturday, Oct 9th at 9pm et/pt.