Spike Lee helms star-studded ‘Wake Up’ ad for Bernie Sanders

Director Spike Lee’s latest “joint” is an all-star ad for his 2016 candidate of choice – Sen. Bernie Sanders.

On the eve of the crucial Democratic primary in New York, voters are buzzing about the Brooklyn-born filmmaker’s ringing endorsement for the Vermont underdog. The ad called “Wake Up” features prominent Sanders surrogates like Harry Belafonte, Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, Dr. Cornel West, and actress Tessa Thompson, as well as black and Latino activists, who appear strategically placed to buttress the senator’s bid for the minority vote.

Lee has become one of Sanders’ most outspoken supporters as the Democratic race has pivoted to New York. He has already recorded a radio ad for Sanders and sat side-by-side with him for a Hollywood Reporter Q&A. With this ad, which pays homage to the finale of his 1988 classic “School Daze,” Lee is making his most personal statement yet about Sanders’ movement.

Towards the end of the just over 5-minute clip, Lee juxtaposes the poignant imagery of children reciting the preamble to the Constitution with one of Sanders’ signature rousing stump speeches. An enthusiastic crowd can be heard chanting the senator’s name,

The ad will have to work wonders to help Sanders overcome his formidable deficit in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Despite being born in Brooklyn, Clinton has enjoyed a home field advantage in New York throughout the campaign, having served as a U.S. senator in the state from 2001 to 2009. 

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal polls show Clinton maintaining a double-digit lead over Sanders, but that gap has closed considerably since the race began. Sanders has said that New York is a “must win” in the past, but should he come up short he still has the funds (and the crowds) continue his campaign all the way to the Democratic convention this July.

Bernie Sanders and Spike Lee

Spike Lee helms star-studded 'Wake Up' ad for Bernie Sanders