A largely black audience filled Duke's Reynolds Theater to its 589-seat capacity. Despite the room's stuffy conditions, the audience listened with rapt attention and broke into spontaneous applause as Lee discussed his current film, "Bamboozled," as well as several other topics.
"Bamboozled" is about a modern-day minstrel show -- a popular form of entertainment in the early 20th century that featured white actors portraying black characters.
But Lee could not resist ruffling a few feathers before his speech.
"You know, I'm not a big Duke fan, you know that," Lee said as he walked onstage, eliciting both cheers and boos from the crowd.
"I'm glad to be here, but I'm not going to front."
Lee then launched into his presentation, explaining that "Bamboozled" is about the deconstructive force of negative images in the media.
"I could make the same film with misrepresentations of women," he said. "Women in television, homosexuals in television, Latinos -- it's not just blacks."
Lee also discussed the role of black men in film and television, citing "The Green Mile" and "The Legend of Bagger Vance" as movies featuring negative stereotypes of blacks.
"These movies feature the so-called 'super negro,'" Lee said. "(They) can't use their supernatural powers for the benefit of their people. They only use them to help white people."