NEW YORK—Spike Lee, the celebrated movie director of “Do The Right Thing,” returned to Brooklyn Tuesday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his film.
June 30 will officially mark the film’s 25th anniversary.
Lee sat leisurely on the steps of the Brooklyn Borough Hall Monday agreeing to copious requests for photographs with passersby.
He then spoke alongside Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and other elected officials about his acclaimed 1989 film, which featured themes that, according to Lee, are still relevant for people living in Brooklyn today.
Lee opened with a charged reference to the iconic film, which explored racial tensions between neighbors living in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“Can you say Bedford Stuy—do or die anymore?” Lee asked. “Or is it do or dine?”
Lee was referring to the changing demographics of the neighborhood. According to Council member Robert Cornegy, many of Bedford Stuyvesant’s long-term residents are being displaced.
Lee, born in Atlanta, came to Brooklyn at the age of 2. He filmed “Do The Right Thing” entirely in Brooklyn—on Stuyvesant Street, between Quincy Street and Lexington Avenue. Lee announced a free “old-school” block party to take place in Bedford Stuyvesant, on the weekend to commemorate the occasion.
Lee concluded by saying that there would be no sequel to “Do The Right Thing.”
“Maybe on Broadway” he added. “But not a musical!”
Gentrification was touched on in the film, said Cornegy. Now, 25 years since the film was made, “people are being pushed out of their homes,” he said.
Cornegy said the contribution of acclaimed artists like Lee offers hope of preserving Bedford Stuyvesant’s cultural heritage. Through regularly returning to Bedford Stuyvesant Lee has reinvigorated the neighborhood’s cultural standing.