Spike Lee hosting Bed-Stuy block party to celebrate ‘Do the Right Thing’

Spike Lee contemplates a scene on the set of 'Do The Right Thing', as three actors await his direction on July 25, 1988.
Spike Lee contemplates a scene on the set of ‘Do The Right Thing’, as three actors await his direction on July 25, 1988. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The public is invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s film "Do the Right Thing" with a block party this Sunday.

“It’s a way for people to connect with each other, to see each other again. It’s like one of those unofficial family reunions," said Daryl Tillman of Bed-Stuy, who has attended prior Lee block parties. 

The free block party will be held from noon to 7 p.m. on the same stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue, between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street, where the movie was filmed. It’s since been renamed "Do the Right Thing Way."

"It’s going to be lit," Lee told TheWrap.

Lee’s block parties are annual celebrations of icons such as Michael Jackson or Prince. The events draw crowds of community members excited for the chance to dress for the occasion and reconnect with each other. Tillman, 47, predicts ’80s ensembles for the celebration of the Academy Award-nominated film.

“It’s fun. Even though we’re not all connected as a family, we’re connected as a community,” Tillman said. “The Prince parties everyone’s wearing purple, Michael Jackson people are wearing the white gloves, so it’ll be the same thing and it’ll be even more incredible with the theme of it.”

The film, Lee’s third, addresses racial tensions in Bed-Stuy in the 1980s, and Tillman said the block party will help keep those discussions alive.

"I saw the movie at 17 and it was groundbreaking in that sense and then looking at it now at 47, there’s a different meaning,” Tillman said. “It’s a great way to introduce the next generation about ‘OK this is what we dealt with in 1989 and this is what’s going on now in 2019, so look we have to make a change, we have to get involved in our community relationships.’”

Tillman says Lee is always floating around the party, but community members are used to having him nearby. His production company, Forty Acres and a Mule, is located in Brooklyn. 

“Spike is a treasure. Spike is a treasure to Brooklyn, to New York, definitely a treasure to the African-American community,” Tillman says. “Him staying in Brooklyn, that means the world to a lot of people, to all of us.”

In addition to the block party, the 30th anniversary of the film’s release will be celebrated with a restored version of "Do the Right Thing" to be rereleased in select AMC, Regal Cinemas, Cinemark and Alamo Drafthouse theaters on June 28. The Brooklyn Academy of Music will also be screening the film June 28 through July 4.