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‘Do the Right Thing’ block party marks iconic film’s 35th anniversary

Festival goers told News12 the film's themes of fighting racism and coming together as a community were in full display, as was the inspiring nature of the film's breakthrough success for Lee.

Rob Flaks

Jul 1, 2024, 12:34 AM

Updated 16 days ago

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Legendary Film Maker Spike Lee returned to the street in Bed-Stuy where his film "Do The Right Thing" was filmed over 35 years ago for a block party celebration of the film and its legacy Sunday.
The event featured food, dancing, music and Lee himself addressed the audience, spun tunes and even brought out actor Giancarlo Esposito who played the character Mookie in the film.
Festival goers told News12 the film's themes of fighting racism and coming together as a community were in full display, as was the inspiring nature of the film's breakthrough success for Lee.
"Spike lee is just somebody for anybody who's from Bed-Stuy. They know they always see him around, does a lot of cool things. He's an inspiration to a lot of people, artists... if it wasn't for him, a lot of people wouldn't be chasing their dreams right now, so that's what I'm doing," said attendee Kenal James.
Members of the film's crew also attended and said they had no idea the film would go on to be the smash hit it became.
They say they were also not prepared for the demographic changes of the neighborhood the film depicted to be so different 35 years later.
"This was Bed-Stuy, do or die. It was the jungle. It was really precarious, you really had to know how to navigate, and now with gentrification, it's a whole other vibe," said film crew member Robin Downs.
Many attendees told News 12 that the film continues to spire them in their own art and in the film's narrative of coming together, and the resonance it still has with audiences to this day.
"It's just about the nuances between different cultures and how us as a community have to maneuver around that. It's really dope, it's really powerful. A lot can be learned from it, from everybody," said attendee Joffy Jo. "Spike Lee has created an avenue for Black storytellers to find their voice, and so I'm here in support of that and the history of this movie and what it's done for me myself as a filmmaker as myself."


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