The real “Black Klansman” returned to Salt Lake Community College on Feb. 26.
Ron Stallworth, better known as the subject of Spike Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman,” made an appearance in the Grand Theatre just a day after his historic tale won an Oscar for Best Adaptive Screenplay.
Stallworth is known for infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan while working as a detective for the Colorado Springs Police Department. He was able to fool KKK Grand Wizard David Duke over the telephone. His partner, Chuck, would then go to the meetings to gather information.
After this historic event, Stallworth came to Utah to work with the state’s anti-gang unit. Stallworth later worked at SLCC as an instructor of criminal justice courses. I recently sat down with Stallworth to ask him questions pertaining to the movie “BlacKkKlansman.”
Can you tell me how it feels to have your own story win an Oscar?
“I’m still shaking, honestly. It’s astonishing to me and I couldn’t believe it. I’m happy that Spike Lee won his first ever Oscar award. I couldn’t believe I was standing on that stage. Having my story win an award still feels shocking to me. Most of all, I’m happy that everyone got to see this film and enjoyed it.”
May I ask how much of this story is fabricated and how much of it actually took place?
“Eighty percent of the film actually took place and really happened.”
How did it feel meeting Harry Belafonte?
“It was very humbling, I actually didn’t know he was going to be in the film. It was actually a surprise for everyone. Spike Lee told us a day before we were filming his scene to get dressed up for this particular scene. No one knew he was bringing in Harry Belafonte as a surprise guest. It was an honor to speak to someone such as Harry Belafonte and all the legendary things he has done within films and the Civil Rights Movement. I was very happy to speak with him.”
Have you listened to the soundtrack to the film? If so, what can you say is your favorite song off the soundtrack?
“Yes, I have, and I would have to say, ‘Too Late to Turn Back Now’ by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose.”
Now because your story took place in the 1970s, I gotta ask, what was your signature dance move during that time?
“Now I can’t tell you that. It’s my signature for a reason. I gotta keep that one to myself.”