Spike Lee has released a powerful short film that splices together the deaths of George Floyd and Eric Garner with clips from the climax of his 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” calling Floyd, Garner and the character Radio Raheem “3 Brothers.”
“Will history stop repeating itself,” a title card reads as we hear Garner, who was killed in 2014, say “I’m minding my business officer.”
The short film makes a powerful parallel between how Lee visualized a protest and the police’s treatment of the black man Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) in his film and how closely they match up with what we’ve seen in real life with Floyd and Garner.
Lee released the film on Twitter, but it first made its premiere on Sunday night as part of his appearance with CNN’s Don Lemon in a special segment titled “I Can’t Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America.”
“How can people not understand why people are reacting the way they are. It’s history again, again and again. This is not new. We saw it with the riots in the ’60s with the assassination of Dr. King. Every time something jumps off and we don’t get our justice, people are reacting the way they feel they have to be heard,” Lee told CNN. “People are asked the same questions. Why are people rioting? Why are people doing this, doing that? Because people are fed up and tired of the debasing, the killing of black lives. That’s what this country is built upon.”
Lee previously released a short film earlier in May in response to the coronavirus that was a love letter to the city of New York. Lee’s next feature film, “Da 5 Bloods,” is a Vietnam War story starring Chadwick Boseman and opens on Netflix on June 12.
Watch Lee’s short films and his CNN appearance below:
3 Brothers-Radio Raheem, Eric Garner And George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/EB0cXQELzE
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLeeJoint) June 1, 2020
"The attack on black bodies has been here from the get-go," says filmmaker Spike Lee, responding to protests over George Floyd's death. "…I am not condoning all this other stuff but I understand why people are doing what they are doing." https://t.co/K5Gzn1gRT0 pic.twitter.com/sxnZJ9xRpi
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 1, 2020