Spike Lee Puts Out A Short Film and Reflects Upon The Debasing of Black People in America
Placing George Floyd, Eric Garner and Do The Right Thing character Radio Raheem side by side.
American filmmaker Spike Lee has just released a short film titled 3 Brothers that exposes the brutality black men in America have endured at the hands of police officers across the country. The video goes on for one minute and 35 seconds and likens the murders of George Floyd and Eric Garner to the fictional story of Radio Raheem, a character from his comedy-drama film Do The Right Thing.
The film places the footage from the arrests and killings of Floyd and Garner and scenes from Lee’s 1989 film side by side. Fittingly enough, the film character Raheem dies after being choked by police officers.
3 Brothers-Radio Raheem, Eric Garner And George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/EB0cXQELzE
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLeeJoint) June 1, 2020
George Floyd died last Monday, May 25 after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes, ignoring him crying for help and gasping for air. Chauvin and three other police officers involved in the infamous arrest were fired, with Chauvin being the only one charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Garner was killed back in 2014 during his arrest in Staten Island, New York. In his case, the officer in question, Daniel Pantaleo, was not charged.
In addition to releasing the film, Lee took to CNN Tonight to discuss the protests raging across the country and the world. In an interview with Don Lemon, the filmmaker challenged those who could not relate to the protesters.
“How can people not understand why people are acting the way they are?” he said. “This is not new, we saw with the riots in the 60s, 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 to be heard.”
"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
“What we are seeing today is not new,” he continued. “This is not new. We’ve seen this again and again and again. People are fed up and people are tired of the debasing, the killing of black bodies. That is what this country is built upon.”
Dressed in a T-shirt with the 1619 date printed on it, Lee reflected upon the attack on black bodies that established itself in America with the first arrival of slaves to Virginia. “The foundation of the United States of America is built upon the stealing of the land from the native people and genocide, coupled with slavery… I am not condoning this other stuff but I understand why people are doing what they are doing.”