How Do the Right Thing Exemplifies the Human Connection:

Human connection can be seen in many aspects, economics, friendship, conflict, and sex, among others. One of the movies that best exemplifies the human connection is  Do the Right Thing by Director Spike Lee. The story is set in the Bedstuy community, which serves as a microcosm. For our readers who don’t know,  a microcosm is a representation of reality, and in our reality, there is human connection, through conversations, phone calls, soccer games, and in this case movies. Situating the story in Bedstuy is no different from the setting of Mice and Men, a farm, another microcosm. Both represent spaces in our own great reality, and the systems that surround it, in Bed Stuy there is conflict, lust, authority, greed, and all aspects of human interaction and connection. 


What is really unique about Spike Lee’s movies is the fact that he projects human beings on screen, not necessarily ideas and agendas that serve a political message, but human beings just like the audience. Spike Lee, the movie’s director,  makes his movies feel very raw and personal. In his first feature film, She’s Gotta Have it. In it, we follow a woman that is in a relationship with three different men, all with distinct personalities and interests. Through those men, we get to understand the essence of the main character, Nola Darling. Now, pertaining to Do the Right Thing this type of human relationship is expanded in scale and in quantity, which allows for a larger sense of community and how humans make a community through their connections; be through relationships, work, interests, conflict, and others. 


The movie starts with Mr. Señor Love Daddy, the “Radio Presenter” announcing that it is a fine day with the sun shining”, this sets the tone for the majority of the movie. We follow Mookie, played by Spike Lee, a pizza delivery man for the local pizzeria “Sal’s Pizzeria”. Since Mookie is just another resident in the community and delivers pizza to all of them, he has a connection to most of the people inside of Bed Stuy, hence why we seem to jump around different storylines and different points of view from the residents of the community about different topics that concern them.  One of these plotlines follows one of 3 friends sitting in front of the South Korean-owned business that has just been installed in Bed Stuy. Two of the men feel discriminated against since they are black they did not have the same opportunity as the Korean man, while they have a point, as pointed out by one of the friends, that has a different opinion from both of them, he is “tired of hearing that old excuse, tired of hearing that shit […] You are always talking about “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, you ain’t doing a goddamn thing”. This confrontation that this friend poses is an example of the human connection inside of the Bed Stuy community, a variety of different thoughts, ambitions, and obstacles. The Korean shop is presented as a halting point to two of these friends, to the other, it is presented as another shop owned by another human, and so he treats it that way. The way the movie presents this topic is of an objective nature and establishes the points of view of organic characters with strong personalities, so it exemplifies the human connection inside Bed Stuy and beyond.


Another way that the human connection is exemplified in the movie is through one of its most powerful scenes where Radio Raheem shows Mookie his new hand accessories, on one hand, the word “Love” is spelled.  On the other hand, “Hate. This scene occurs   As “Fight the Power” plays in the background. Raheem approaches Mookie in the middle of the street and they start a conversation. It is then where Raheem delivers a powerful speech of their duality, as he intertwines both of his hands to demonstrate their connection. The importance of this scene when analyzing this movie through the lens of human connection is empirical, as it demonstrates the duality of human interaction, it illustrates the most primitive and essential aspects of human life. In my view, they are complementary emotions that are present in our daily lives, as we tend to experience them every single day as we interact with different people, which is one of the premises of the movie. Raheem makes reference to the biblical tale of “Cain and Abel”, where, due to Abel’s relationship with God, Cain murdered him due to his raging envy. “Hate, it was with this hand that Cain “iced” his brother; love, with these five fingers they go straight to the souls of men”. By referencing the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, Spike Lee embodies immaculately the fate of Radio Raheem, as hate took over the policeman that murdered him amidst a rebellion and love died with him that night, similarly to Abel, which in the movie, is paralleled with Radio Raheem, can be seen as a person with the same intentions, a person that wants to “do the right thing” by their own views and philosophies, but is prematurely halted by hate. Human connection can be cruel and it can be embodied by hate. 


Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a masterclass in film poetry and brings to the table a plethora of topics to discuss, one of the most compelling ones in my opinion is the one of human connection and interaction. The movie exemplifies it perfectly through the setting of Bed Stuy, the characters that live in it and should be reflected by everyone that watches it and feels compelled to understand its message, as it is more than a movie about its time, it is a timeless tale about human connection.