Twenty-five years ago (on June 30), Spike Lee premiered one of his most controversial films to date, Do The Right Thing. Still a young filmmaker, Lee focused on underlying issues of gentrification and poverty while the subject of racial tension was plastered all over the cult classic.
The racial break down 5-part monologue speeches:
- “Dago, wop, garlic-breath, guinea, pizza-slinging, spaghetti-bending, Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano, Pavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsinging motherfucker.”
- “You gold-teeth, gold-chain-wearing, fried-chicken-and-biscuit-satin’, monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-running, three-hundred-sixty-degree-basketball-dunking spade Moulan Yan.”
- “You slant-eyed, me-no-speak-American, own every fruit and vegetable stand in New York, Reverend Moon, Summer Olympics ’88, Korean kick-boxing bastard.”
- “Goya bean-eating, fifteen in a car, thirty in an apartment, pointed shoes, red-wearing, Menudo, meda-meda Puerto Rican cocksucker.”
- “It’s cheap, I got a good price for you, Mayor Koch, “How I’m doing,” chocolate-egg-cream-drinking, bagel and lox, B’nai B’rith asshole.”
In a unique way, DTRT capitalized on the issues most black Americans dealt with in a language his demographic could understand. Without demeaning the intelligence and intellectualism of his crowd, Spike’s summer set project was able to appeal to moviegoers even if they weren’t from Brooklyn, New York—where the film was placed. His use of character interaction, music and relatable scenarios helped paint the picture of a typical summer day when the weather isn’t the only thing boiling over.
Unknowingly, the young filmmaker foreshadowed issues that are still prevalent today. This particular piece of work not only launched his career to the next level (despite not being his first film) it also catapulted many newbies into star status while popularizing other things. As we celebrate 25 years of the street-named project, check out 10 right things Spike predicted.
In the 1989 summer flick, one storyline was Gentrification. Oh how times have changed and this issue is running rampant in Brooklyn.
Radio Raheem’s infamous four-finger rings that read “Love” and “Hate” still are popular today.
His rememberable story about his Left and Right hand: “Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: it was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Left-Hand Hate KOed by Love.”
We don’t think when Spike Lee was writing in Radio Raheem’s name and his death, it would become such a prominent term still used widely today, especially in rap songs.
Micheal Jordan’s illustrious sneakers weren’t as popular in ’89 as they’ve become. MJ can thank Spike Lee for helping boost his timeless kicks.
The weather was so hot in the summer film that your temperature rose while watching it. It’s interesting that global warming has taken over 25 years later from when it was first predicted.
Spike Lee knew he hit gold with the actors he’s casted in his films. Many of his stars that weren’t quite notable went on to heighten their career to householdnames. Names like Rosie Perez, Samuel L Jackson and Martin Lawrence got their first real start with Lee’s movie.
Who knew that our first black president won his leading lady over with the help of Spike Lee’s controversial picture. It was the couple’s first real date together and Barack Obama took her there to impress her.
“He was trying to show me his sophisticated side by selecting an independent filmmaker, and it ended up being a pretty good movie—really great,” said the First Lady.
Luckily he did and they became the power couple we love!
Most black films feature a dance break in them, and we like to think his iconic opening featuring Rosie Perez inspired future filmmakers to incorporate a dance scene.
Kids busting fire hydrants was popular then and is popular now. When the summer heat is too overbearing and there’s no access to a pool, the hydrants will be sacrificed.
You would think after depicting police brutality it would simmer. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The historic L.A. Riots occurred less than 10 years later among other controversial events between police and African Americans.