Spike Lee's powerful short new film about Black Lives Matter

Brenda Watkins
June 3, 2020

"The attack on black bodies has been here from the get-go", said Lee, wearing a shirt emblazoned with 1619, the year often seen as the beginning of slavery in America. "And let's take into account that the National Basketball Association is not playing", said Lee, letting out an enormous cackle.

Why we care: The 1989 masterpiece Do the Right Thing unfolds over one tense summer day in a Brooklyn neighborhood, culminating in the choking murder of one of that neighborhood's beloved residents, Radio Raheem, by police. In the film, Raheem is choked to death by a police officer, sparking a riot. Some critics agreed. On the Criterion DVD of the film, Lee reads from his reviews, noting that Joe Klein, in NY magazine, laments the burning of Sal's Pizzeria but fails to even note that it follows the death of a young black man at the hands of the police. Radio Raheem, Eric Garner And George Floyd, the picture spotlights the murders of Eric Garner and George Floyd, as well as Radio Raheem in Lee's 1989 movie, Do the Right Thing.

"I've seen this before".

"I've been very encouraged by the diversity of the protesters [nationwide]".

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"People are asking the same questions: Why are people rioting?"

Have a look at the film below, although bear in mind that the images may induce trauma for some viewers, and expect more from Lee this week in the lead up to Friday's release of his Netflix release, Da 5 Bloods. "This is not new", Lee told The Associated Press. "I'm encouraged that my wife's sisters and brothers are out there".

The final shots show Radio Raheem's dead body being hauled away by cops, while Floyd is being put on a stretcher while another cop aggressively tells bystanders to get back as bystanders say, "You really just killed that man" as the short comes to an end.

"People are exhausted and they take to the streets", said Lee. "The Utah Jazz are not playing!" Lee's "New York, New York", set to Frank Sinatra, was released in early May as an ode to his outbreak-stricken city.

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