*The “Jimmy Kimmel Live” team put together a sequel to Spike Lee’s 1989 classic “Do the Right Thing,” a drama he also co-starred in about a neighborhood’s simmering racial tension, which comes to a head and culminates in tragedy on the hottest day of summer.
Kimmel’s sequel highlights the changes that Brooklyn (the borough in which the original film was set) has undergone since Spike’s infamous film – specifically how the city has been gentrified (and continues to be).
Kimmel’s “Do the Right Thing 2: Do the White Thing,” features Rosie Perez, who starred in the original, and Billy Crudup as Mookie. The sequel comes about a year after Spike’s explicit gentrification rant, in which he said:
“You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start Bogarting and kill off the Native Americans,” Lee said, adding, “Or what they did in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people… I grew up here in New York. It’s changed… And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn’t picked up every mother******* day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. The police weren’t around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o’clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something.”
“So, why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? Why’s there more police protection in Bed Stuy and Harlem now? Why’s the garbage getting picked up more regularly? We been here!”
As Shadow and Act notes, Lee’s comments were met with criticism by New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, who penned a piece for the paper titled “Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?” Scott called Spike a hypocrite and actor Anthony Mackie (and others) shared similar criticisms of Spike. Mackie said that Lee’s escape to Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a form of “reverse gentrification” and “as your tax brackets changes, I guess your zip code changes.”
Kimmel said the hilarious sequel “does an equally good job at capturing the feeling and spirit of Brooklyn now.” Check out the clip below.