Earlier today, actor Bill Nunn passed away at the age of sixty-two, less than one month shy of his sixty-third birthday (October 20, 1953-September 24th 2016) in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. I felt like I needed to write something to commemorate his life and career because I literally was just watching Do the Right Thing yesterday evening while channel surfing and stretched out on the couch. Nunn played many different parts in various movies including Spider-Man, He Got Game, New Jack City, School Daze and others. However, his most popular and prominent role, in my mind, is when he played the part of Radio Raheem, the mute b-boy in Spike Lee‘s 1989 breakthrough film Do the Right Thing. All Radio Raheem wanted to do was play his music loud on his boombox and convey his message of love to the world via his Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn neighborhood.
However, the irony of Radio Raheem’s story in Do the Right Thing is that he was murdered in his own neighborhood by the police for playing his music and spreading his message of love. In the graphic movie scene where Radio Raheem is strangled to death, Spike Lee did an incredible job of imitating real life and what’s going on in society right now to a tee.
Bill Nunn played the role of Radio Raheem over twenty years ago and look at all that’s going on today in America with law enforcement. I was around in 1989 and I’m still here. So, I know first hand how things have worsened. And this is not just due to the changes in technology like some people may claim. There has been a surge in police violence and something must change to end this. If writing about it can lead to some type of progression, then I’ll keep writing until I can’t write anymore.
Hate is the sickness and love is the cure. This is one thing Radio Raheem had up on a lot of us twenty plus years ago. So, to honor the late great Bill Nunn, how about we try more love and less hate?! Love is a major key!