What: A timely, affecting short film about police brutality and anti-black racism.
Who: The one and only Spike Lee.
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. The chaos that follows ignites when Spike Lee’s character, Mookie, throws a trash can through the window of a pizza shop featured throughout the film, owned by Danny Aiello’s Sal.
When the film came out, some prominent critics seemed to seize on the needless destruction of white-owned properties by black people as more offensive than the needless destruction of black bodies by white police.
Here we are, 31 years later, engulfed in nationwide protests both peaceful and otherwise, while the pundit class and certain politicians appear more incensed by the uprisings than they are at George Floyd’s death at the hands of cops.
Lee has remained a prominent voice in conversations about race since Do the Right Thing came out in 1989, all the way to his recent Oscar win for BlacKkKlansman. Over the weekend, he spoke out about Floyd’s death by releasing a short film called 3 Brothers on Twitter. The film intercuts between the alarming similarities between his work of fiction and the deaths of not only Floyd but also Eric Garner, who was famously killed by police in New York in 2014.
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 film, Da 5 Bloods.
3 Brothers-Radio Raheem, Eric Garner And George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/EB0cXQELzE
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLeeJoint) June 1, 2020