Spike Lee Block Party Celebrates "Do the Right Thing"

The event goes from noon to 6 p.m. on Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street in Bed-Stuy

Friday, Jun 27, 2014  |  Updated 1:53 PM CDT
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Spike Lee Takes on Gentrification

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Spike Lee Takes on Gentrification

Native New Yorker and famous filmmaker Spike Lee went on a long, impassioned tirade against the gentrification of parts of New York City during a Black History Month event at Pratt Institute. Ida Siegal reports from Bedford-Stuyvesant.
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A block of Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood is throwing a party for the 25th anniversary of Spike Lee's film "Do the Right Thing" on Saturday, and the director says he will be there signing autographs.

"It is all going down on the single block where the film was shot 25 years ago," Lee wrote on Instagram Friday.

That's Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington Avenue and Quincy Street. The party goes from noon to 6 p.m., according to the post.

The film was released June 30, 1989, and tells a story about simmering racial tensions on the Brooklyn block amid the hottest day of summer.

The director, who grew up in Brooklyn but has since moved to the Upper East Side, ranted this past winter about the gentrification of Bed-Stuy, along with other New York City neighborhoods, like the South Bronx, Harlem, Crown Heights and Fort Greene, the area where he grew up.

At the time, he said longtime residents are being pushed out by people with "Christopher Columbus Syndrome."

"You can't discover this! We been here. You just can't come and bogart," the director told an audience in February at the Pratt Institute in Fort Greene.

Lee was asked a question by an audience member about the positive side of gentrification, and Lee wasn't having it.

"Let me just kill you right now," he said, before launching into the expletive-laden rant.

He said the so-called benefits that supporters of gentrification cite don't matter because new residents drive up real estate values and rents so that longtime residents can't afford it anymore and have to flee. 

"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!" he said.

"I don't see a lot of good coming from gentrification for the people living in those neighborhoods," he added.

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