They eased on down the road!
Filmmaker Spike Lee’s annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson celebration honored more than just the late king of pop’s birthday on Saturday, when the iconic host used the bash to officially unveil a newly-named Bedford-Stuyvesant street honoring his 1989 movie “Do the Right Thing.”
Lee led the crowd in a chant of “Brooklyn!” as a cover was pulled off a street sign for Do the Right Thing Way, which spans the block of Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington and Quincy Streets where the film is set. This the first street the city has named after a work of art, and film fanatics said they were thrilled to be present for such a momentous occasion.
“That was awesome,” said Downtown resident Pervis Taylor. “I always knew it to be an important film, and for Brooklyn to recognize that — for that to be the first time they’re naming a street after a piece of art — that was incredible to be a part of that history.”
Taylor has been coming to Lee’s yearly block party since its kick-off in 2009 — the year Michael Jackson died — and said the shindig, where community members to moonwalk the day away to the songs they know and love, is always a highlight of his summers.
“I love the sense of community,” he said. “Michael Jackson’s music is the tie that binds, regardless of race or religion.”
Revelers did their best to re-create the late pop star’s choreography, including the legendary “Thriller” dance, as well as grooving to some old-school hip-hop spun by the party’s disc jockey.
One merrymaker came all the way from Westchester County to partake in the festivities, which she said are an annual tradition for her sorority sisters.
“We have a great time,” said Katrina Lofcin. “We dance all day long. It’s an end-of-the-summer treat for us.”
Lee honored one more event after unveiling the new street sign — the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The former Fort Greene resident ordered a moment of silence for the lives that were lost “because the United States government did not come to their rescue,” before instructing a disc jockey to start spinning “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy,
The movie-maker also spent plenty of time mingling with the assembled masses, which according to Taylor — who has met Lee at a previous party and bumped into him around the borough — epitomizes the kind of guy he is.
“Spike is so Brooklyn,” he said. “He’s such a kind man. He’s always been cool.”