history lessons

Spike Lee Debuts Short Film 3 Brothers — Radio Raheem, Eric Garner and George Floyd

Photo: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Spike Lee needs to know: When are we gonna do the right thing? The Academy Award–winning filmmaker revisted his 1989 film Do the Right Thing in a new short film responding to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. 3 Brothers — Radio Raheem, Eric Garner and George Floyd compiles Radio Raheem’s death scenes from Do the Right Thing with real footage of the deaths of Eric Garner in 2014 and George Floyd last week. All three men, including the fictional one, were killed by white police officers restraining them by their necks on the street. The film premiered during Lee’s appearance on CNN’s I Can’t Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America on May 31, anchored by Don Lemon. “When Will History Stop Repeating Itself?” it opens, before cutting to spliced-together clips. All three senseless deaths were each followed by massive community unrest, including protests and riots. “How can people not understand why people are acting the way they are?” he said, wearing a shirt with 1619, the year seen as the start of slavery in America, on it. “This is history again and again and again … This is not new. The attack on black bodies has been here from the get-go.”

This is Lee’s second short film in response to global societal issues this month. On May 8, he released one dedicated to the coronavirus-ravaged New York City. Meanwhile, Lee’s supposed to be focusing on his first-ever Netflix film Da 5 Bloods. His latest exploration of the black American experience takes Vietnam War veterans back to recover the body of their fallen friend, played by Chadwick Boseman in flashbacks. For a Spike Lee joint with much less sensitive content, Da 5 Bloods premieres on Netflix June 12.

Spike Lee Debuts Short Film Calling Out Police Brutality