In 1985, Lee began working on his first feature film, She’s Gotta Have It. With a budget of $175,000, he shot the film in two weeks. In the 90s, Levi’s began producing a series of TV commercials directed by Lee for their button jeans
Marketing executives from Nike offered Lee a job directing commercials for the company. They wanted to pair Lee’s character, the Michael Jordan-loving Mars Blackmon, and Jordan in a marketing campaign for the Air Jordan line. Through the marketing wing of 40 Acres and a Mule, Lee has directed commercials for Converse, Jaguar, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry’s.
Lee’s movies have examined race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues. Lee has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award. He has also received two Academy Award nominations.