Since the early days of Spike Lee’s career, the iconic director has done a brilliant job of accurately portraying cultural aspects of New York. One of the best examples of this is when he depicted a racially-charged summer in Brooklyn with his 1989 classic film Do the Right Thing, and now a Bed-Stuy street will be named after Lee’s work of art.
Last year, Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr., a Bed-Stuy City Hall representative, proposed to change the name of a street on Stuyvesant Avenue to Do The Right Thing Way. Legal issues had to be worked through before the change could become official, and the New York City Council had to approve of the renaming under a bill that will rename 50 NYC streets after people who have been influential to the city.
“It’s a bit complicated, because the City Council’s standards for co-naming focus on people and organizations, not works of art,” Cornegy told DNAinfo.
But that day has finally come. On Saturday, Lee celebrated both the unveiling of Do The Right Thing Way and the 57th birthday of pop icon Michael Jackson with a huge block party in the heart of Bed-Stuy. Some of Jackson’s hits such as “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Thriller” blared through large speakers while attendees danced for at least three hours. Then, after the unveiling of the street name, the speakers played Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” a song that was featured in Lee’s honored film.
Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement on the street’s renaming:
“Our city has a long and powerful history, brimming with dedicated New Yorkers who have fought to improve their communities in countless ways — from public service to community activism to the arts. It is essential that we commemorate those who have built up our past as we work to build a better future for our city. This legislation ensures that we remain connected to our history and to the important values embodied by these individuals.”