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When the ‘Wrong’ Thing Is the Right Thing

How Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ finds justice—and how network TV took that justice away

The summer of 1989 wasn’t just another summer, despite what Chuck D told us in “Fight the Power.” New York City was hot, and it only got hotter when Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing came out. Chronicling how sweltering, simmering racial tension boiled over on a Bed-Stuy Brooklyn block, the movie finally reaches its climax in the police murder of Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) and Mookie (Spike Lee) throwing a…

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