A powerless people trying to gain control of something over something tangible. This is the idea behind Spike Lee’s 1989 classic Do The Right Thing. The film’s main protagonist is Mookie played by Spike Lee. Mookie is a pizza delivery guy in Bedstai New York. Mookie works for a guy named Sal and his two sons. Sal is an Italian and Mookie constantly butts heads with one of Sal’s two sons. Mookie’s friends Buggin Out and Radio Raheem do not like or respect Sal for different reasons. Buggin believes that because Sal’s customer base is primarily African American that there should be some African American heroes on his wall. Radio Raheem just wants to play his rap music while he eats his pizza. Radio Raheem, Buggin Out, and Sal play pivotal roles that explore the racial tension in this city block in New York and spark the film’s violent climax.
This film is entirely centered on how people react to each other. It is both a sociopolitical movie and a socioeconomic movie. Race and class factor heavily into how people perceive and react to each other. I have to say the person who I ended up identifying with most in Do The Right Thing was Da Mayor. This has nothing to do with the fact that I once met playwright and Da Mayor portrayer Ozzie Davis in Canada. Da Mayor is the peacekeeper of the entire film. He correctly understands and analyzes people’s emotions and grievances within the city block and that reminded me very much of myself. I also love Samuel L. Jackson as the orator of the entire film reminding the audience of the culture and rich history of African Americans. While Do The Right Thing is essentially a cautionary of how to treat people, it also reminds you to be grateful for what you have and who you have become. In my opinion, this is Spike Lee’s best work and a timeless classic because of the way he openly addresses the issues this country still has with race relations.