Spike Lee released a short film as part of his contribution to the George Floyd protests that have seen many places in the United States express condemnation of the tragic incident.
Spike Lee is known for his work in film which has continually explored the themes of race relations, colorism in the black community, and other issues.
The director intercuts footage of his 1989 film Do the Right Thing with that of arrests of Floyd and Eric Garner, both of which resulted in their deaths. By doing so, he equates Floyd’s treatment at the hands of police with Garner’s and Radio Raheem, the character in his film.
Lee released the film (which he called 3 Brothers) when he made an appearance on CNN as part of a special report on the protests which have escalated into violence in the U.S.
Garner lost his life in 2014 after his arrest in Staten Island, New York. The cop involved, Daniel Pantaleo, was not charged. Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, sparked outrage on social media and has resulted in the arrest of the officer responsible.
While being interviewed by CNN, Lee told Don Lemon:
How can people not understand why people are acting the way they are? … 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 do to be heard … We are seeing this again and again and again … This is the thing: the killing of black bodies, that is what this country is built upon.”
Speaking further, Lee stated, “The foundation of the United States of America is founded upon the stealing of the land from the native people and genocide, coupled with slavery… I’m not condoning this other stuff but I understand why people are doing what they do.”
See the video below:
"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
— Don Lemon Tonight (@DonLemonTonight) June 1, 2020