Spike Lee Gives Black Vietnam Vets a Voice with Da 5 Bloods

“Black G.I. Is it fair to serve more than the white Americans who sent you here? Nothing is more confusing that to be ordered to a war to die without the faintest idea of what’s going on.” – from Da 5 Bloods

While many Vietnam War movies and documentaries have been made, few of them focus on the stories of African American soldiers. Spike Lee intends to change that with his new film, Da 5 Bloods which will premiere on Netflix on June 12, 2020.

This Spike Lee Joint tells the story of four African-American Vets who return to Vietnam to search for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader and a buried treasure. To complete their mission, the soldiers must contend with forces that threaten to destroy their minds, bodies, and souls.

Da 5 Bloods mixes Lee’s signature in-your-face style with archival footage of the war along with some of the most gripping events of the 1960s – the Kent State protests, Richard Nixon’s resignation, and other civil rights marches. Through these cinematic devices, the film delves into the intricacies of racial politics in America and poses one central question: Why were black soldiers fighting for a country that had always oppressed them.


It is only fitting that Lee should tackle this topic. Never one to shy away from controversy, Lee has used his films to confront racism and expose the systems that prevent African Americans from access to the American Dream.

Da 5 Blood is Lee’s second collaboration with Netflix. In 2017, he partnered with the streaming service to produce a TV series based on his first theatrical release, She’s Gotta Have It. Lee is currently working with the network to produce a hip-hop Romeo & Juliet story Prince of Cats.

Watch the trailer (set to the gripping psychedelic classic, “Time Has Come Today,” by The Chambers Brothers) below.

Director: Spike Lee

Writers: Spike Lee, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Delroy Lindo, Jean Reno, Paul Walter Hauser, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Jonathan Majors

If you’d like another perspective on African-Americans who participated in the Vietnam War, check out Soul Alley by Ted Irving.

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