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Oscar-winner Spike Lee has 'no problem asking people for money' — here's why

After decades of Oscar nominations, filmmaker Spike Lee finally won his first competitive Academy Award on Sunday night.

Lee, who took home the Best Adapted Screenplay award "BlacKkKlansman," gave a passionate acceptance speech in which he referred to American slavery and urged people to vote in the 2020 elections. Though President Trump wasn't mentioned in the speech, he criticized Lee in a tweet on Monday morning for making a "racist hit on your President."

The Oscar-winning director's bold and fearless speech comes as no surprise. After all, Lee has never been one to shy away from talking about the uncomfortable things — like money, for instance.

"[...] raising money is part of being a filmmaker," Lee told online investing service Wealthsimple in 2017. "I've got no problem asking people for money. Because I believe. I believe in my talents, my storytelling abilities, and also the people I surround myself with on the projects that I make."

Success hasn't stopped the acclaimed director from scraping together funds from individuals: In 2013, Lee raised more than $1.4 million on Kickstarter to make "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus."

Spike Lee poses with the Oscar for 'Best Adapted Screenplay' for BlacKkKlansman during the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Gregg DeGuire | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Spike Lee poses with the Oscar for 'Best Adapted Screenplay' for BlacKkKlansman during the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

When it comes to being able to ask people for money, Lee is in good company. As author Steve Siebold found after interviewing more than 1,000 self-made millionaires for his book, "How Rich People Think," the rich aren't afraid to fund their future using other people's cash.

"Rich people know not being solvent enough to personally afford something is not relevant," Siebold writes. "The real question is, 'Is this worth buying, investing in, or pursuing?' If so, the wealthy know money is always available because rich people are always looking for great investments and superior performers to make those investments profitable."

"The wealthy know money is always available." -Steve Siebold, author of "How Rich People Think"

People in the middle class think you need money to make money, but that belief is "limiting at best and destructive at worst," Siebold says. "The truth is you have to have great ideas that solve problems to make money. If you do, you will attract money like a magnet."

Attracting money probably won't happen overnight; it requires patience and resilience. As Lee told Wealthsimple, he's had his fair share of rejection, too. "Here's what I've learned, though: It only takes one yes. No matter how many people say no, you only need that one yes and you're off and running. You can't let the no's defeat you. Because that's all it takes — just one yes."

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