A Hot Summer Day in Brooklyn - Detailing Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" Style Influence and Legacy

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Whenever we get to the summer, and the temperatures start to increase, there is a movie that I always want to watch again; even if I have seen it plenty of times, it never gets old; of course, I'm talking about the 1989 Spike Lee joint classic "Do the Right Thing." With frequent scenes in which the protagonists describe the scorching heat surrounding them, it's the perfect movie for the powerful heat waves that have been hitting us lately, and at least it makes us feel more understood.

Another aspect that makes it one of the most contemporary flicks of that era is the style; while the movie was shot in the summer of 1988 and released the year after, it precedes many trends that were going to grow in popularity in the next decade and even more trends that became popular recently.

Of course, we can't start without naming Jordan sneakers and how important they are in the movie, not only in how the protagonists are styled but also in how they are used for peculiar shots. A perfect example of this is one of the film's most memorable shots, which you have probably seen plenty of times online.
I'm talking about the scene where Buggin' Out (played by Giancarlo Esposito) gets its new Jordan 4 dirty by a white guy wearing a Larry Bird t-shirt stepping on them.

This situation not only makes for one of the funniest scenes of the movie, but it also works a lot as a symbol of the changing environments in historic black neighborhoods that slowly started to get gentrified. Just go to Brooklyn in 2022 to see the difference from a few decades ago.

A part from Jordan sneakers, there is a clear theme of sportswear being all over the place in the styling of the movie; just look at Mooki's (Spike Lee) outfit, completed with a Dodgers Jersey.

The central style theme, apart from sportswear, is definitely Afrocentric accessories; this style was getting increasingly popular in the late 80s and 90s, celebrating this style of accessories at a mainstream level for the first time. While already in the mid-'90s, we saw a decline in the presence of this type of accessories, recently, through the work of Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton and the general new creative African scene, we saw a resurgence in the use of African patterns, color palette and symbols, from runways to the streets.

While these are probably the most prominent style themes of the movies, "Do the Right Thing" is full of stylistic choices that became increasingly popular in the following decades. From circular lenses to the "Love" and "Hate" gold brass knuckles, just look at Quavo's "Huncho," to the use of bright colors, this flick not only perfectly gives an image of late ' the 80s/early '90s style, but it will forever work as inspiration and mood board for fashion designers.

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