Do the Right Thing
Punctuated by the anthemic refrain of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Do the Right Thing is a landmark in American cinema, as politically and emotionally charged and as relevant now as when it first hit the big screen.
In the wake of their successful collaboration on School Daze, Spike Lee and costume designer Ruth E. Carter re-teamed to create the iconic looks worn by actors Lee, Rosie Perez, Danny Aiello, Bill Nunn, Ossie Davis, and others. In her book The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther, the legendary costume designer recounts the instructions she received from the filmmaker as follows: “This film is going to have to look hot!”
Over the course of a single day in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Do or Die neighborhood, the easygoing interactions of a cast of unforgettable characters—Da Mayor, Mother Sister, Mister Señor Love Daddy, Tina, Sweet Dick Willie, Buggin Out, Radio Raheem, Sal, Pino, Vito, and Lee’s Mookie among them—give way to heated confrontations as tensions rise along racial fault lines, ultimately exploding into violence