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Public Enemy, ‘Fight the Power,’ and ‘Do the Right Thing,’

Public Enemy Fight the Power Radio Raheem Bill Nunn Spike Lee Do the Right Thing

Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem, blasting “Fight the Power” in Spike Lee’s “Fight the Power”

In 1989, Public Enemy broke up — simply after recording their signature track, “Fight the Power,” and simply earlier than it turned the musical centerpiece of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” The motive for his or her breakup, and the story of their reunion, is the topic of our newest episode “Shoot This Now” podcast, which you’ll be able to hearken to under or hearken to proper right here.

Our particular visitor this week is Dart Adams of the “Dart Against Humanity” podcast, and the creator of the Okayplayer story “In the Summer of 1989 ‘Fight the Power’ Saved Public Enemy & Almost Sank ‘Do the Right Thing.’”

We suppose his story may present the idea for a distinct form of hip-hop film than we’ve ever seen earlier than — one about how hip-hop’s most uncompromising group needed to determine easy methods to deal with a disaster that threatened not solely their future, however the success of “Do the Right Thing.”

Public Enemy had all the time been a staff of rivals. Leader Chuck D managed each the flamboyant comedy of his legendary sideman, Flavor Flav, and the seriousness of Professor Griff, the group’s designated “minister of information” and chief of the military-modeled step squad the S1Ws.

But then Griff make anti-Semitic feedback quickly earlier than the discharge of “Do the Right Thing,” a movie that featured “Fight the Power” prominently all through — beginning with Rosie Perez’s dance opening and persevering with as Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) blasted it round Brooklyn.

The protests over Griff’s remarks threatened each Public Enemy and Spike Lee’s hard-fought achievements.

No one within the group condoned Griff’s remarks. But nobody needed to be seen as kowtowing to critics, both, as a matter of precept. Chuck D needed to determine whether or not to interrupt together with his pal to save lots of the long run.

We hope you just like the episode, and can make sure to try the “Dart Against Humanity” podcast.

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