Marci Rodgers Discusses Costuming The Ku Klux Klan For ‘BlacKkKlansman’

They were pretty fast and efficient. For Ron Stallworth, I worked with a company in Taiwan. I sent them research, the shoe that I wanted to have made for him, and they made it pretty much to a tee.
What were the first steps you took, contemplating your role on BlacKkKlansman?
What qualities in ‘70s fashion were you trying to emulate with your looks?
Under the auteur, she has learned a number of lessons, one of them being how to bring intention to every visual choice she makes. “And I could say, ‘Well, this is why.’” “Studying pictures of David Duke when he was in his robe as a Grand Wizard, or even of the wizards under him, I would always refer back to the book. Like the rest of the film’s department heads, the costume designer couldn’t help but be triggered by the sight of these robes—and yet she “still wanted to be an artist, and make sure [the look] was depicted correctly.” One of Lee’s protégés, Rodgers got her big break as a costume designer on the director’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, inspired by his own 1986 film. Because there would come a day where Spike would be like, ‘Why is David wearing blue?’” Rodgers reflects.
If it wasn't vintage, it was something I saw—like, a charm or a shell that I thought would be cool—at like a Michaels craft store. No, actually. Then, I picked up an 18-inch suede necklace with a clasp that went with his palette. This sounds crazy, but a lot of what Ron wore, I picked out myself. A lot of the jewelry Patrice wore was vintage, and the pick that Ron gives her was something that Spike came to set with.
So I definitely vowed, throughout the arc of her costumes, for them not just to be flat black, but to have different textures—suede against leather, polyester knit against suede, so that there could be a dimension there. With Patrice, every time you saw her, she had on black. There was a young man who was onstage with Patrice and Odetta when Kwame Ture was speaking, and he had on an army fatigue jacket, because that's what they wore during that time—and the berets.
Were there key points that were crucial to Spike, when it came to the film’s costumes? What did you discuss early on?
For Ron Stallworth, when he's coming into the initiation scene—the banquet where he has on the denim—I said to Spike, “I think it would be cool if he had on a two-piece denim walking suit, versus a suit. He really wasn't too big on Ron Stallworth wearing a lot of jewelry, even though when I spoke to Mr. Lee wanted him to wear. So, that was very specific. Lee went through my research and gave me some feedback. Stallworth, he said when he would go in and out of those worlds, when he was a detective, he would wear certain jewelry pieces that made him feel “cool.” Other than that, Mr. We still want him to have on a ‘uniform,’ but let’s juxtapose him against the organization.'” And that costume actually became very important. There were a few. For Ron Stallworth, in particular, there was a pair of [Nike] Cortezes that Mr. I was able to get those, and then also, he wanted Ron to wear marshmallow shoes, which I don't think actually exist now. But I made a pair of marshmallow shoes for John David [Washington] to wear in the scene.
Just to be around him—particularly on Klansman, but even for She's Gotta Have It or any project we've worked on—it's very interesting to see how he handles his process. Even he does research. Lee has definitely taught me a lot about filmmaking, about being confident as a young artist in the industry. In short, I would say it's definitely been a blessing. He might not know that, that I paid that much attention, but he's very intriguing because you have a mentor who wants to stay up on the times, not getting involved in just one project and shutting everything out.” /> He's constantly, always learning something, and I think that's very important. Mr.
Then, I started to dig deeper into the ‘70s costumes, as it related to Ron Stallworth and the Black Student Union, doing preliminary research to get a feel of the era. I went to my alma mater, Howard University, and went through 50 or 70 magazines and books. When Spike gave me a call and said that he had a script for me to read, I read it and I immediately took a step back, and went to watch Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, just because those two films play a part in our film. Then, we went into pre-production, and I had a meeting with Spike, and I had a huge binder where I had collected research. At that point, I didn't necessarily marry myself to the idea of the costumes being connected to those films, but just learned more and more about that side of the story, meaning the organization. Then I also visited the Library of Congress and learned a little more about the organization, as a whole.
I think having a presence is very important for any character, not just [Ron]. Just making sure that everything was memorable. Confidence in his wardrobe, in his presence. that was something that, with John David, I wanted to be presented through the screen. Two things, really: Courage and strength. It was important for all of them: Patrice [Dumas], Odetta, Kwame Ture, Flip. For him to have stepped out so much on faith and even his own confidence, to infiltrate the KKK…
Premiering at Cannes, where Lee won the Grand Jury Prize, the director’s latest tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in the Colorado Springs bureau who, in astonishing fashion, managed to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Of course, in preparing to tell this story, Rodgers hit the books, educating herself on the fashions of the ‘70s, on Stallworth’s sartorial preferences, and what the KKK actually wore. “I showed that information to Spike and the production designer, and I think it opened up even more of a creative world for us.” On Spike Lee’s Golden Globe-nominated BlacKkKlansman, Marci Rodgers was presented with the unusual task of costuming the Ku Klux Klan. “Early on in prep, I looked at a lot of documentaries on the organization, and in my research online, I was able to find a handbook on all of the Klan's robes and what they meant,” Rodgers says.
So for the Student Union, that was very important to me, to keep that soul—the soul sister, soul brother—underlying. Doing my research, I looked through Ebony magazines and Essence magazines to see what they were actually wearing during that timeframe—even Soul Train, because collectively, it was still around the same age group. During that time in the ‘70s, that was a very rich palette, in general. Very earthy tones, very rich. On the flip side of that, you had the Black Panther Party, which was happening during the same time, which is where Patrice's costume was inspired by Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver.
What has it been like having Spike Lee as your mentor and supporter, on BlacKkKlansman and other projects?
What is the process of having designer items like marshmallow shoes made when they’re hard to find in the real world?
Could you elaborate on the approach you took with the Black Panther outfits? I’d heard that you provided them with some added texture, so that they would pop on screen.
The primary characters of BlacKkKlansman wear a fair amount of jewelry of various sorts. Were you working with a specific designer in getting all those pieces made?
In firsthand interaction with Ron Stallworth, what did you observe about him, as a person?

Black Eyed Peas – Street Livin’

Guns or books, sell crack or rap
Street livin’, hustle or hoops
Guns or books, get shot or shoot
Street livin’, ain’t no rules
Break the law, make or break the news
The life you choose could be the life you lose
Niggas getting stuck for the Nike shoes
Street livin’, ain’t no joke
It’s a cold world, better bring your coat
Revoke cause the streets are broke
Now, they wanna take away our dreams and hopes
Street livin’, no economics
No way out of the Reaganomics
Infected by the black plague, new bubonic
No comprende, we speak ebonics
Street livin’, what’s your position? [Verse 1: will.i.am]
Street livin’, caught in a trap
Guns or books, sell crack or rap
Be like kings or be like pawns
They called us coons, now they call us cons
Street niggas be packing pistols
Terrorists be blasting missles
Crips and bloods and retail thugs
CIA planes bring Columbian drugs
Don’t push me cause I’m close to hell
And compare to them, prison guards get payed well
Ten years no bail is 4 years at Yale
So, forget about the statue of General Lee
Because the status of blacks are generally
Are gonna end up in some penitentiary
Systematically, that’s how they made it to be
Listen, they derailed the soul train
And put a nightmare into every Martin Luther King
And private complexes are owned by the same
Slave masters that owned the slave trade game
And racists no longer have to be racist
Cause niggas kill more niggas than the KKK did
Now, every time I hear a new def jam
Niggas killing niggas like they Ku Klux Klan
I understand what’s a nigga to choose? You can take action or take a dick
Listen, you can get fucked by the system
Or you can say fuck the system No education in the hood, got a nigga confused

[Verse 2: Taboo]
Street livin’, tough conditions
Brainwashed by the television
We lost in the war we live in
Double cross love lost no religion
Street livin’, oh my gosh
Another brother got shot by the searg’
Another cop got off with no charge
If you black in the hood, you at large
You’re guilty until we prove you’re innocent
If you’re ivory, they treat you different
If you’re ebony, they assume you’re temperament
Well, be vigilant, and they call you militant
You’ll get shot, and they’ll say the incident
Is because you’re beligerent
What a coincidence? Be the killer or be the dead dude in the news
I get it, what’s a nigga to do? If you ain’t dead, you can see imprisonment
[Verse 3: apl.de.ap]
It’s more niggas in the prisons than there ever slaves cotton picking
There’s more niggas that’s rotting in the prisons than there ever slaves cotton picking
So, how we gon’ get out the trap?

Talib Kweli & Styles P – Last Ones (The Seven Album)

(Yeah)
(What’s Happenin’?)
(What’s Happenin’?)
(What’s up, what’s happenin, what’s up?)

[Verse 1: Talib Kweli]
All my rap friends went crazy I’m the last one left
These haters prayin’ they can celebrate the last one’s death
None of them niggas in my class that couldn’t pass one test
But that’s what happens when you rappin’ on a [?] depth
I never chat shit
The flow bat-shit, it’s major league
Major Keys like Khaled (it’s accurate)
Recognize a dime when you pass it
With this weapon I’s rhymin’, I’m an assassin
Put nine minutes to the casket, you bastards
Stare in the abyss and the Leviathan (oh yea)
You say a prayer for the dying men
Looking for that pleasure but you findin’ sin
Can’t be scared to take a loss if you tryin’ to win

[Verse 2: Styles P]
Recognize greatness, tenacious
Gracious, mark of design, the new Matrix
I can make Dr. Strange brain look basic
MCs on the dinner menu and I ain’t ate shit
Who’s the entree? I’m a giant like Andre
You just an appetizer, weak rapper in harm’s way
These elite rhymes, prayers and peace signs
Staring at the air, fled the joint, hope the beast died
Icy ass road, no brakes let the Jeep slide
Playing hide and seek with my sleep, where did he hide?
Popular, hook philosopher since knee high
Ironic, I really ran with the wolves at G high
You ain’t hearing me, higher power preparing me
To have a higher power in rap for transparency
I’m clear to you, I’m here with you
High and in the cloud, I should put it in the air for you

[Hook: Talib Kweli & Styles P]
All my rap friends went crazy I’m the last one left
All my street homies crazy I’m the last one right
(Last ones, left right)
(Last ones, left right)
All my rap friends went crazy I’m the last one left
All my street homies crazy I’m the last one right
(Last ones, left right)
(Last ones, left right)
(Last ones)

[Verse 3: Talib Kweli]
Paint it like I’m JJ, for real I’m not for play play
If I work then I get paid, they whip them slaves like the nae nae
I’m smashin’ ’em if you askin’ ’em what’s happenin’ and they say
I’m original, you a re-run, Dwayne hey hey hey
Do the rise got my squad information like what bae say
I seen my brother you got to be more specific when you say bae
A spark like a melee, feelings I don’t placate
Give a fuck what Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney say say say
Fuck the KKK, respect the family, me and you got a play date
I’ll send you to hell and Satan will be your playmate
O-K-K, like Lil Scrappy but pay attention to what they say
Sound like some old "catch me on payday" type niggas who like to get missin’
Nah, pay what you want (cough it up), but you ain’t the homie, now you don’t know me
Hip-hop on my shoulders like the demons or the sheriff
Or the stick you use for measurin’, way too sick for medicine

[Hook: Talib Kweli & Styles P]
All my rap friends went crazy I’m the last one left
All my street homies crazy I’m the last one right
(Last ones, left right)
(Last ones, left right)
All my rap friends went crazy I’m the last one left
All my street homies crazy I’m the last one right
(Last ones, left right)
(Last ones, left right)

[Verse 4: Styles P]
All my street homies crazy I’m the last one right
Hatin’ cocksuckers hope I see the flash one night
‘Bout peace but I’ma grab my mask tonight
Man standin’, I’ma be the last one right
I rhyme wicked, I sit still, my mind vivid
Analyze the times and all of the signs with it
Pump fake the snakes and the rats and the swine with ’em
Smoke watch stars and go on the line with ’em, ghost

[Outro]
Oh, that my words were written
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book
Oh, that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just
Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable
If there is any excellence, if there is anything worth of praise
Think about these things

Lloyd Banks – Salute (Halloween Havoc 3 Mixtape)

[Hook: Lloyd Banks]
General I salute you
I’ll put a hole in any nigga tryin’ to shoot you
It ain’t nothin’ cause loyalty’s what I’m used to
And what I don’t do I’ll have one of my troops do
Nigga we’ll kill you

[Verse 1: Young Buck]
I’m ready for combat, a soldier on the front lines
Take it to the streets nigga mothafuck a punch line
It only take one time for you to send a death threat
And watch these bullets have that ass singin’ like Keith Sweat
You ain’t met me yet, I been camouflaged in the bushes
And I’m co-signin 50 cause them niggas all pussy
Bustin’ shots at ya convoy, you don’t want war
No surrender, no retreat, this is Vietnam boy
Check my war wounds, I done took a couple for the team
Only niggas that been on the battlefield know what I mean
Take cover, we comin’ pullin’ pins out of grenades
You won’t make it to the General without gettin’ sprayed
Might as well say hello to my brand new little friend
Only time he come out to put holes in grown men
You can send your troops and get ’em all blown back
Walk up on ’em wit a deuce deuce, and nigga hold that
BUCK!

[Hook: x2]
General I salute you
I’ll put a hole in any nigga tryin’ to shoot you
It ain’t nothin’ cause loyalty’s what I’m used to
And what I don’t do I’ll have one of my troops do
Nigga we’ll kill you

[Verse 2: Lloyd Banks]
Look nigga, I suggest you go home
Cause I won’t hesitate to let the chrome touch ya
Nigga I’m never scared like Bone Crusher
Stand alone, provide my own supper
Tell ya baby momma stop comin’ around here or I’m gon’ fuck her
We’ll try to take up for them lames around you
He’ll get shots for free like I flagrant fouled you
I’m on the road blowin’ grade A haze and brown
Got niggas runnin’ like the KKK’s around
My album’s comin’, a new year’s approaching
My buzz gettin’ bigger, a few ears is open
Can your team play in the game, without you here to coach ’em
There’s a very fine line between a pool and an ocean
Sometimes I’m in Atlanta where they Bankhead bounce
And you could come, but after you give Banks head bounce
These niggas really want war, cause if so put on your vest
Cause all you gotta do is just say yes

[Hook]
General I salute you
I’ll put a hole in any nigga tryin’ to shoot you
It ain’t nothin’ cause loyalty’s what I’m used to
And what I don’t do I’ll have one of my troops do
Nigga we’ll kill you

[Outro: 50 Cent (Tony Yayo)]
G-Unit’s like the Firm
Cause you can get in, you can’t get out
(This is G-Unit life right here, know what I’m sayin’
We used to sell drugs, you know bust guns and all the other
Now we’re laid back, now we doin’ us, we live it up
50 got us right, got us kicked up right now)

Will.I.Am – Grab’m By The Pu$$y (feat. Apl.De.Ap & Liane V) letras

[will.i.am]
I’m a star, cuz I made it
I’m rich and I’m famous
Donald Trump said grab ’em by the (meow)
Donald Trump said grab ’em by the (meow)

Yeah baby…
I’m a star and I’m famous
Donald Trump said grab em by the (meow)
Donald Trump said grab em by the pussy

[Liane V]
No…
You got it all wrong
I’m a woman
And I’m strong

And don’t you forget it
Cuz I am intelligent
I’m somebodies daughter
I’m somebodies boss
I could be the next president
So give me the respect now

Gimmie gimme gimmie respect
Gimmie respect now
Gimmie the respect now

Listen
Gimmie gimme gimmie respect
Gimmie respect now
Gimmie the respect now

[Apl.de.ap]
Whatcha gonna do about the war in Afghanistan
Whatcha gonna do when they kill another black man
Tell me how you’re gonna make America great again
Whatcha gonna do when they only wanna hate again

[will.i.am]
When Im president I won’t be like be Obama
If anyone talks shit about me, ill bomb em
I’m grabbin that pussy like theres no tomorrow
And if we have problems with Russia I’ll bomb em

[Apl.de.ap]
Whatcha gonna do about Al Queda and Isis
Whatcha gonna do about the Syrian crisis
Whatcha gonna do when you step in the door
Will the rich stay richer and the poor stay poor

[will.i.am]
No

Ah shut up girl
It ain’t about you girl
It’s all about me girl
Don’t you see my name on the building, girl
And when I’m president, Imma own the world
I’m a star

I’m a star, cuz i made it
I’m rich and I’m famous
Donald Trump said grab em by the (meow)
Donald Trump said grab em by the (meow)

Yeah baby
I’m a star and I’m famous
Donald Trump said grab em by the (meow)
Donald Trump said grab em by the Pussy

[Liane V]
No…
You got it all wrong
I’m a woman
And I’m strong

And don’t you forget it
Cuz I am intelligent
I’m somebodies daughter
I’m somebodies boss
I could be the next president
So give me the respect now

Gimmie gimme gimmie respect
Gimmie respect now
Gimmie the respect now

Yeah
Yeah

Gimmie gimme Gimmie respect
Gimmie respect now
Gimmie the respect now

[will.i.am]
Respect you?
Nah
Y’all gonna learn how to respect me
Got the KKK support’n me
And the black community
Yeah… dance brother

So you can give me respect
Gimmie respect
Gimmie respect now
Trump that pussy
Can’t
So you can give me respect
Give me the respect now
Give me the respect now

Yeah
Trump that bitch

Solange – Interlude: Dad Was Mad lyrics

I was the first, one of the first. My first day, a state trooper caught me, put me in the backseat of the car, and meeting the other black kids, was six of us. And seeing all of those parents, and also KKK members having signs and throwing cans at us, spitting at us. We lived in the threat of death every day. Every day. So I was just lost in this vacuum between integration and segregation and, and racism. That was my childhood. I was angry for years… angry, very angry