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Radio Raheem

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In the film Do the Right Thing, Radio Raheem recites a soliloquy on love and hate. In this scene, he is wearing a brass knuckle ring that says “hate” on his left hand and one that says “love” on his right. Lee shoots this scene by having the camera replace the position of Mookie, opposite Raheem. Radio Raheem thus breaks the fourth wall and is speaking directly to the camera and therefore the audience. This deliberate cinematography frames Raheem’s monologue as a moment of sincerity and importance. This has the effect of Raheem commenting on black history and the struggle against racism in the real world, on the other side of the camera. Raheem poetically articulates the allure of both love and hate and the constant fluctuation that occurs between these two opposing forces. His monologue can be seen to reveal that the solution to such a nuanced historical issue as racism lies in the combined effort and fluctuation of both forces. This “love/hate” speech is an ode to a similar monologue in the thriller film The Night of the Hunter. In this film, a serial-killer preacher speaks of love and hate as an internal struggle within oneself. Raheem’s performance of the same topic, however, is portrayed as an external struggle against the outside world.



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