Spike Lee cut together the above video, which splices the murder of Radio Raheem by NYPD in his movie Do The Right Thing with the murder of Eric Garner by NYPD in the real goddamned world. Eric Garner was killed by Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17 of this year after Pantaleo put him in a chokehold the NYPD had previously banned. Garner was on probation for the crime of selling untaxed cigarettes.
Do The Right Thing is one of the greatest movies ever made. Period. No matter the politics of the film, Spike Lee's movie is a masterpiece from top to bottom, and it is a movie that anyone who cares about the cinema should see. I love that now, twenty-five years after it was released, Do The Right Thing is as captivating and moving and beautiful as it was in 1989. I hate - HATE - that now, twenty-five years after it was released, Do The Right Thing is as relevant and topical and of the moment as it was in 1989.
This Christmas Paramount will release the amazing Selma, a movie about events of almost fifty years ago, and I love that the film inspires the feeling that things can change. But I hate that the images on the news show how little they have. I hate that fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr led people on marches to gain the most basic rights for black citizens people still need to march to secure the most basic, the most simple right for black Americans - the right to life. Not even liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Just the fucking right to live.
Someday someone will make a movie about Eric Garner, or Mike Brown or Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy murdered by Cleveland police last month, or any of the many unarmed black Americans murdered by police, just as they made Fruitvale Station, a movie about the police murder of unarmed, handcuffed Oscar Grant. Twenty-five or fifty years after that film is released will we still be shocked by how current it is? How long before we can live in an America where Do The Right Thing is a cinematic masterpiece that depicts sad history, not an ever-current reminder of a tragic state of affairs?
Black lives matter. We can no longer accept living in a country where the killing of an unarmed black person by the police is business as usual. Black lives matter. We must hold killer cops accountable. Black lives matter. We have to change our society where a 12 year old boy is shot by the public servants supposedly sworn to defend him and racists talk about how he could have behaved better. Black lives matter. We need to stop being a country where a petty robbery means a death sentence carried out in the street.
Black lives matter.