Twenty-five years ago (on June 30), Spike Lee premiered one of his most controversial films to date, Do The Right Thing. Still a young filmmaker, Lee focused on underlying issues of gentrification and poverty while the subject of racial tension was plastered all over the cult classic.
The racial break down 5-part monologue speeches:
- “Dago, wop, garlic-breath, guinea, pizza-slinging, spaghetti-bending, Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano, Pavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsinging motherfucker.”
- “You gold-teeth, gold-chain-wearing, fried-chicken-and-biscuit-satin’, monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-running, three-hundred-sixty-degree-basketball-dunking spade Moulan Yan.”
- “You slant-eyed, me-no-speak-American, own every fruit and vegetable stand in New York, Reverend Moon, Summer Olympics ’88, Korean kick-boxing bastard.”
- “Goya bean-eating, fifteen in a car, thirty in an apartment, pointed shoes, red-wearing, Menudo, meda-meda Puerto Rican cocksucker.”
- “It’s cheap, I got a good price for you, Mayor Koch, “How I’m doing,” chocolate-egg-cream-drinking, bagel and lox, B’nai B’rith asshole.”
In a unique way, DTRT capitalized on the issues most black Americans dealt with in a language his demographic could understand. Without demeaning the intelligence and intellectualism of his crowd, Spike’s summer set project was able to appeal to moviegoers even if they weren’t from Brooklyn, New York—where the film was placed. His use of character interaction, music and relatable scenarios helped paint the picture of a typical summer day when the weather isn’t the only thing boiling over.
Unknowingly, the young filmmaker foreshadowed issues that are still prevalent today. This particular piece of work not only launched his career to the next level (despite not being his first film) it also catapulted many newbies into star status while popularizing other things. As we celebrate 25 years of the street-named project, check out 10 right things Spike predicted.