PartyLines- photographs by Patrick McMullan

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Twentieth Anniversary and DVD Release for ‘Do the Right Thing’

DGA Theatre. June 29, 2009. By Jada Yuan

What do you miss about 1989 New York? “In 1989, you still had affordable housing in New York City. The racial polarization you had, when this film was made, is not in the New York City I know today.” —Spike Lee

De'Adre Aziza

Do you think the movie changed race relations? “There were a lot of films that had black and white components to them. You just make a movie and hope people go and see it. You don’t expect it to be some cultural phenomenon.” —Samuel L. Jackson

Colman Domingo

How did you react when you heard the Obamas watched this movie on their first date? “Mortified. The president saw my breasts! I’m glad I didn’t know that when I met him. Out of a crowd of people, he recognized me. And now I know why. But he was the perfect gentleman.” —Rosie Perez

Gloria Reuben

Did you like how the movie ended? “Spike and I had some difficulty agreeing on what the end meant. For the longest time, he said he threw the garbage can into the window to start the riot. I said, 'You threw that can in to save my ass. You didn’t want me to get beat.' He denies it. You ask him. He’ll go crazy.” —Danny Aiello

Joie Lee

Malcolm Lee

What do you remember about Spike as a young director? “When I first met him, I thought he was 16 or 17 or 18 years old. When I got to the set, I said, 'Where’s Spike?' When I first saw Spike, I had no idea that this was going to be the boss.” —Ruby Dee

Luis Antonio Ramos

Have you been back to Bed-Stuy since you filmed the movie? “Not that block, but I’ve been to the area. There are some parts that are good and some parts that aren’t good. It’s block by block, but I think Bushwick and East New York are tougher.” —John Turturro

Bill Lee

Is it true your daughter’s first words were "power to the people"? “Satchel very much was a 'power to the people' little girl, and it remains that way. They were not her first words. But before she could speak very clearly, she would utter, 'power to the peetie!'” —Tonya Lewis Lee

George C. Wolfe

Is there a part of this movie you have to explain to young people? “These dynamics still exist. I think we’ve made an extraordinary step in the direction away from it, but the complicated fabric of who we are is very complicated. It’s not all rosy.” —Jeffrey Wright

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