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  • "When Bernie gets into the White House, he will do the right thing!” says film director Spike Lee. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 February 2016

Sanders is trying to strengthen his support among Black voters in South Carolina, where his rival Hillary Clinton appears to have a commanding lead.

U.S. filmmaker Spike Lee endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president Tuesday ahead of Saturday's South Carolina Democratic primary.

Lee recorded a radio ad for the democratic socialist candidate, touting his economic policies.

ANALYSIS: South Carolina Will Test Candidates' Support Among Black Voters

“Wake up! Wake up, South Carolina! This is your dude, Spike Lee. And you know that I know that you know that the system is rigged! And for too long we’ve given our votes to corporate puppets. Sold the okie doke. Ninety-nine percent of Americans were hurt by the Great Recession of 2008, and many are still recovering … That’s why I am officially endorsing my brother, Bernie Sanders. Bernie takes no money from corporations. Nada,” the spot says.

This endorsement comes as Sanders is trying to strengthen his support among Black voters in South Carolina, and across the nation. Blacks account for about 55 percent of Democratic voters in South Carolina.

ANALYSIS: Bernie Sanders Now Needs to Focus on Black and Latino Voters

Lee's movies have examined race relations and his activism is well recognized among African-Americans.

In January, Lee — together with Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith — publicly said they would not attend the 88th Academy Awards ceremony to protest the lack of ethnic diversity among this year's nominees.

Their decision and statements on the issue prompted a number of high-profile Hollywood figures to join the debate and a social media campaign "Oscars So White" was launched.

IN DEPTH: War for the White House 2016

South Carolina could prove to be a bellwether for how Sanders may fare with Black voters across the nation as the primary and caucuses in New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada were states with minimal African-American populations.

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