Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” shot on location in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, is now considered not only a classic of modern cinema, but a clarion call to social justice, frequently connected with current acts of racist violence.
But “Do the Right Thing” is inspired by specific historical events in New York City in the years before its release – and a general atmosphere of racial tension and police brutality, much of it empowered by the casual racism of Mayor Ed Koch. This episode connects the film to those incidents and to that atmosphere, and looks back at its initial (and fraught) reception. We also connect Lee’s iconic work to current events, and ask how we can carry its lessons into the current struggle.
Our guests are “New York Times” culture / op-ed editor Aisha Harris, “Making Rent in Bed-Stuy” author Brandon Harris, indie film guru (and “Spike, Mike, Slackers, and Dykes” author) John Pierson, and “Rolling Stone” senior writer Jamil Smith.
Check out our website for more information.
Thanks for listening!