Spike Lee Do The Right Thing Way Michael Jackson Block Party Scott Heins
Brooklyn Celebrates Michael Jackson (Photo Scott Heins for Okayplayer)

Brooklyn Celebrates Michael Jackson, 'Do The Right Thing' Block Party-Style [Photos]

Photos by Scott Heins for Okayplayer

Last Saturday, thousands packed in for what became a massive Brooklyn block party to celebrate two major milestones: first, the birthday of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who would have been 57 and whose deep, timeless catalog still sounds as fresh as ever. Secondly, the gathering was a huge commemoration of Do The Right Thing Way, a newly-renamed street in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood meant to honor Spike Lee's iconic film. Lee himself was the brains behind the block party, with his 40 Acres production company sponsoring the event in all its music-blasting, hoops-shooting, food-grilling glory. Under a bright, clear sky, more and more Michael Jackson devotees packed in near the stage, craving the sacred space right in front of the speakers as local hero DJ Spinna spliced classic tracks like "Billie Jean" and "Remember the Time."

On the very block where much of Do The Right Thing was filmed, kids in pitch-perfect Michael costumes danced alongside grown-ups and grandparents, eventually forming a "Thriller" line--and nailing every single step. It all culminated in the revealing of the new DTRT street sign; wild cheers and Public Enemy's classic "Fight the Power" echoed amidst the brownstones and in that moment things felt perfect, in that oh so special Brooklyn way. Spinna pushed the soundtrack out from Michael Jackson hits toward local hip-hop staples and plenty of 70s soul, and by the time the Soul Train line opened up in the middle of the crowd, Do The Right Thing Way had already secured its status as the hippest street on earth.