Do the right thing - movie essays

For this question, African American history will serve as a good example. During the slave period performances, there was a distinction between how slaves would act when in public than how they behaved behind closed doors, out of view from the master. Public performances were always in the spirit of happiness, full of instrument playing, dancing, singing, skits and smiles.

Private performances, however, expressed intellectual ideas rather than one feeling of joy. For example, slaves were consistently telling stories or fables with their body movements, as they were not allowed to use their native language, that taught younger audiences virtues and rules to live by.

The minstrel period, starting in the mid eighteenth century, evolved out of whites observing plantation period performances and taking them only at face value. The concept of African American double consciousness was totally overlooked by them. This is the collision between their freethinking and acting African culture, and their American identity that tells them they are not even human beings W. Thus in public, they performed as though they were as happy as can be, but they did it for the reason that if they performed anything else, their lives would be taken away.

The only black employee of the only white-owned business in the area, he is put in the middle of the two races mediating the opposing demands of a white-owned workplace and a black clientele. He tries to balance the demands from his neighbors of being black with the need to earn money to survive. At no point in the movie it seems possible for one to be both a financial success in the neighborhood while still being black. The Northern whites put on blackface makeup, accentuating lips and noses, and bastardized public slave period performances. T Daddy Rice, creator of the Ethiopian Operas, toured the country with his minstrel show.

His most famous character was Jim Crow, a lazy, singing, dancing fool who later became a stock personality in all minstrel shows. When the black community is facing an unfair system that will get no justice for Radio Raheem, they decide to take their own justice. The next day Raheem is dead Sals life is in ruins. The people feel that they have gotten their justice, but when it was all over, Raheem is still dead.

It could be argued that in this conclusion Spike Lee is taking a side against violence and anger. When everyone resorts to violence it only ends with one man dead and another mans life in ruins. Do the right thing was released during a time of racial tension in cities and urban communities.


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Police in these communities were often racist and many police officers that were guilty of police brutality were never brought to justice This movie preceded the Crown heights race riot, a three day long riot, which took place in Brooklyn, The next year in Los Angeles riots erupted after a case of police brutality against a man named Rodney King. In Many ways this movie predicted these riots. African Americans were tired of the racist society in which they lived that set them up to fail.

This film gave a very accurate depiction of the racial tension in communities like ones in Brooklyn and LA. The environments in these neighborhoods were explosive. Tensions were high and people could be set off easily. Another historical topic touched upon briefly was gentrification. This is something that occurs when property values are lowered in a certain urban communities and outsiders begin buying the property cheaply and then developing the neighborhood.

Go Into The Story

While this may be good for housing values, it often forces the residents to move elsewhere because they can no longer afford to live there. Usually this happens in black neighborhoods and the people buying the property and developing it are white. Gentrification is supposed to be neighborhood improvement Gentrification in many ways is the remaking of working-class space to serve the needs of middle- and upper-class people Gentrification NHI. It must be asked why outsiders werent interested in improving the neighborhood for the people that were already there, and they only cared after more affluent whites moved in.

Often the rich cultural backgrounds of these communities are lost when gentrification occurs. It has been seen recently in Brooklyn where this movie takes place. In this borough affluent whites are moving in and others are being forced out. When Buggin Out learns that a White man has bought a brownstone on his block he gives a response that represents the feelings of many blacks in that time who lived in neighborhoods where this was occurring. Motherfuck gentrification. As someone who grew up in Brooklyn and experienced these circumstances it must have been difficult for Director Spike Lee to be objective.

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Do the Right Thing

Despite this he presents a relatively unbiased depiction of this neighborhood. There are several examples of metaphors, imagery, and symbolism in Do The Right Thing. One of the most prominent examples is with the Love and Hate rings worn by Radio Raheem. Each of these rings represents the opposing sides between love and hate, aggression vs peace. The heat is an extremely significant aspect of this film. The entire movie the viewer is constantly reminded of the sweltering heat with close ups of sweaty faces. This heat is a metaphor for the racial tension and explosive atmosphere of the movie, and it reminds us that at any moment things could detonate.

A final example of metaphor is the song fight the power which is constantly streaming from Raheems radio. This song represents the feelings of anger among people like Buggin out, Radio Raheem, and at the end of the movie even Mookie. In the battle between Love and Hate this song shows the side of anger and aggression.

The two quotes by MLK jr and Malcolm X which are shown before the credits show us the battle between aggression and peace that are portrayed in this film. Spike lee tells the viewer a story of racial tension and presents the viewer with two opposing sides. It is up to the viewer to choose one of these sides. National Housing Institute, n.


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Do the right thing analysis and reflection - Black History at USD

Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. He liked aggressive hip-hop. He wore brass knuckles. He tried to choke Sal and resisted arrest. He will be forced into the same narrative role as Michael Brown, and his killer, an anonymous white cop, will go free. It came out in the summer of , six months before Driving Miss Daisy , but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in alongside Gone with the Wind ; without color, in with The Jazz Singer ; without sound, and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers.

Spike Lee and Do the Right Thing Analysis Essay

Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. Herman Melville wrote a lot of good books, but only one of them was Moby-Dick , and he wrote it when he was 32, the same age Lee was when he made Do the Right Thing. Focused on the events of a single hot summer day on a single block in Brooklyn, it begins as a sort of comic urban pastorale about a pizzeria and the colorful neighborhood around it, but, as tempers and temperatures rise, it gradually transforms into a frenzied tragedy of racial violence.

The Endurance of 'Do the Right Thing'

The tonal shift is jarring, but feels natural thanks to how effortlessly the eclectic cast of neighborhood denizens carries the drama. The ensemble performance is one of the most intricate and perfectly balanced in American cinema. You instantly sense that these people have been around each other for years and have been through it all before. Combined with the expressionist crayon box color palette of pastels and primary colors, this makes them all feel like comic strip characters, concisely detailed and cleanly outlined, and, like the cast of Peanuts and Popeye , they seem to exist outside the normal passage of time.

They live through the story, but the denouement returns their colorful world to stasis, and the compressed setting and time frame reinforces the comic strip milieu. Right off the bat, the film plays games with our narrative expectations.