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Spike Lee Gives Prince's 'Mary Don't You Weep' The Video Treatment

Spike Lee's latest film, BlackkKlansman,isa satirical drama about a black police officer who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s just by putting on his "white voice" over the phone. While the flick is set in the era of afros, Pam Grier and disco, the ending scenes feature footage of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly in August 2017.

To soundtrack those clips just before the end credits, Lee chose to play Prince's recently unearthed piano ballad "Mary Don't You Weep." Now, Lee has released an official video for the track featuring scenes and stills from the feature presentation.

"Prince wanted me to have that song, I don't care what nobody says," Lee told Rolling Stone when asked about the song choice. "My brother Prince wanted me to have that song. For this film. There's no other explanation to me."

Lee's visual adaptation arrives in the same week that the Prince estate released 23 albums recorded from 1995-2010 on all major streaming services.

The archival track of Prince singing the Negro spiritual, complete with a side-mic sniffle halfway through the recording, was released by those in charge of the Prince estate back in June, on what would have been Prince's 60th birthday. In addition to appearing on the soundtrack to BlackkKlansman, the beautifully bare-bones recording will be released within the upcoming Prince album Piano & A Microphone 1983,due out Sept. 21.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.