Spike Lee wears his Brooklyn pride like a badge of honor. The award-winning director has always focused his lens on New York City’s largest borough, so to call his latest film “Red Hook Summer” a return to BK is an inaccuracy, because Spike never left.
“It started way back in 1986 with my debut, ’She’s Gotta Have It,’ ” Lee told MTV News of his first film, which he not only directed, but wrote, produced and starred in as the ever-popular Mars Blackmon.
Lee also centered his 1989 classic “Do the Right Thing,” “Crooklyn,” “Clockers” and “He Got Game” around his hometown, telling stories based in famous BK neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene and Coney Island. But “Red Hook Summer,” which takes place in Brooklyn’s infamous Red Hook Housing Projects, is different from all the rest.
“This is the first film I’ve done where you really see gentrification has taken place,” Lee remarked before drawing a comparison to a scene from one of his most iconic films. “There was a hint of it in ’Do the Right Thing’ with [Clifton] the character played by John Savage, when he stepped on Buggin’ Out’s Air Jordans.”
The famous scene marks the beginnings of tension, which ultimately divided the neighborhood racially. With “Red Hook Summer,” which opened Friday (August 10) in New York, Spike once again explores these themes, but with an updated twist. While Bed-Stuy’s racial and socio-economic complexion in “Do the Right Thing” were just beginning to change then, “Red Hook” captures Brooklyn’s climate 26 years later. “Gentrification is happening, not just across America, all over the world,” Spike said.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Red Hook Summer.”
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