Brooklyn is doing the right thing — again.
Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee will commemorate the 25th anniversary of his movie “Do the Right Thing” with a block party on Saturday along the same stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue where he shot the classic slice-of-life film. When it came out, the movie helped change perceptions of life on the street level in 1980s Bedford-Stuyvesant, Borough President Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Spike created an image of Brooklyn that was beyond the headlines and beyond the stereotypes,” Adams said. “ ‘Do the Right Thing’ showed Brooklyn through the eyes of actual Brooklynites.”
Standing on the steps of Borough Hall, Adams was joined by Lee and a handful of Brooklyn pols who took turns lauding the auteur’s cultural contributions before the filmmaker finally took the podium.
“I never thought that 25 years later we’d still be celebrating the film, but we are and I want to thank everyone for that,” Lee said.
Lee makes his home these days in the tony Upper East Side section of Manhattan, but he remains heavily opinionated about the neighborhoods where he grew up and made his name, as evidenced by his anti-gentrification tirade at a February lecture at Pratt Institute.
Community Board 3 voted earlier this month to support co-naming the Stuyvesant block “Do the Right Thing Way” and Adams declared June 30 “Do the Right Thing Day” at Tuesday’s announcement.
Lee will be the master of ceremonies at the block party, which his Fort Greene production company 40 Acres and a Mule is co-hosting with the Stuyvesant Co-op Block Association.
Shot on the block of Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue, the film tells the story of Mookie, played by Lee, and his friends and neighbors as they deal with the summer heat, police brutality, and mounting racial tensions. Prominent film critics have called it one of the greatest films of the decade, while some detractors criticized Lee for his ambivalent treatment of riotous property destruction.
One pol in attendance at the press conference said that when he saw it as a young fellow, he was not used to seeing his reality portrayed on the big screen.
“It was exciting to see myself for the first time on television,” Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (D–Bedford-Stuyvesant) said. “It was exciting to have a voice.”
“Do the Right Thing” 25th anniversary block party (Stuyvesant Avenue between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant). Sautrday, June 28, noon–6 pm.