In his production diary for Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee refers to the look he wanted for his film as “bright… Afrocentric bright.” Like all of Lee’s films to date, DTRT is afrocentric — not only in its look, but in its language, rhythms, humor, and most important, its worldview. The film chronicles the events on the hottest day of the year on a block in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy­ — events that jostle and collide with one another and finally erupt into a riot. It shows the close-knit life of the block, and it is very real. Lee gets things right, the cacophony of the street, the intimate wranglings that burst into public view, the small hurts and slights at the store counters and from the neighbors. And most of all, he captures the embattled attitude people carry with them at home or at work or in the street. Early in the film a character named Smiley (Roger Guenveur Smith) appears in front of a church, strug­gling mightily to express himself through an uncoopera­tive stuttering voice. He is selling postcard photos of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. and trying to give voice to what those images mean to him, a black kid trying to survive. It is a stunning evocation of the inexpres...