Do the right thing

Front Cover
British Film Institute, 2001 - Art - 95 pages
Do The Right Thing (1989) is arguably Spike Lee's best feature film, and one of the most popular and celebrated examples of African America's ongoing "new black film wave." Set during the hottest day of a racially tense year in New York City, the film's ensemble cast, including Lee himself, brilliantly play out the edgy negotiations and dramas of a racially and culturally diverse working-class Brooklyn neighborhood. Contrary to Hollywood's markedly cautious treatment of "race" and its confinement to the South and the past, Do The Right Thing offers a nuanced portrayal of black urban life. From hip-hop fashions, Afrocentric colors and rap music, to police brutality, gentrification, non-white immigration, deindustrialization and joblessness, Do The Right Thing depicts it all, from a contemporary, African American point of view.
Ed Guerrero discusses how Do The Right Thing epitomizes Spike Lee's powerful impact on the representation of race and difference in America, the progress of black filmmaking and the rise of multicultural voices in the media. Guerrero emphasizes Lee's especially timely understanding of black film-making as a complex act, mixing the skills of art, politics, and business in order to fashion a creative practice that confronts institutional discrimination and power relations head on.

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About the author (2001)

Ed Guerrero is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and Africana Studies at New York University. He has written extensively on black film-making and emergent cinemas for a number of journals, magazines and anthologies. He is the author of the influential study of black cinema, Framing Blackness (1993).