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Spike Lee’s Wife Tonya Talks Being a Renaissance Woman and Her Inspiration

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Tonya Lewis Lee has the wisdom of a stateswoman, the creativity of a wunderkind, the soulfulness of a poet, and the beauty of a trophy wife. Yes, her husband, Spike Lee, is easily one of the top five storytellers of our generation. But, this statuesque woman is no trophy. Her own trophies and accolades are well-earned.

The former corporate attorney is the co-president of entertainment firm Tonik Productions and founder and Editor-in-Chief of Healthy You Now, a wellness site for women of color. Lee’s bestselling bibliography includes an empowering children’s book collection. Her impressive filmography boasts the award-winning documentary I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education.

Despite all of the acclaim, Ms. Lee speaks honestly about her own challenges. On her blog she shared, “I’ve been getting mammograms since I was 35 years old. Chances are at some point I will develop breast cancer, as my mother and grandmother did,” in a plea for African-American women to be vigilant about our health. “Our community, our family, our future depends on the health and well-being of women, like you, who often help to keep everyone else going,” Lee wrote.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Lee’s most recent film, premiered on the Hallmark Channel earlier this fall, and is set in 1963. I spoke to Ms. Lee about the importance of producing this film for today’s audiences, and what fuels her drive for excellence.

Thank you so much for making time for this conversation. Would you define yourself a Renaissance woman?

You know, I’m just someone who is trying to do interesting work and tell good stories and make the world a little bit better than when I got here. So if that is a Renaissance woman, I’ll take it.

What inspires you to do so much?

I’m someone who has a lot of energy and I’m around a lot of people who are doing really great amazing work and I don’t mean just in the film business. So when I’m around that kind of energy, it just helps me to press on and do the work that I want to do. Life is short and I want to make sure that my time here is productive and feels like I’m contributing something — certainly in raising my children.

They are my greatest pride and certainly I hope and I believe (because they are nearly grown now) that they will contribute something themselves. I’ve done something wonderful in raising two really wonderful human beings, but there is other work that I can be doing to also contribute. So I just try to put my hat in the ring and see what happens.

Read the full interview at

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One thought on “Spike Lee’s Wife Tonya Talks Being a Renaissance Woman and Her Inspiration

  1. Kareem Scoon says:

    Thank-you Spike

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