Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Do Your Own Thing: The Dune Label

Janine Irons and Gary Crosby

One of the most poignant moments in Spike Lee’s seminal flick Do the Right Thing involves Mookie, the knuckleheaded but loveable lead character sitting across the table from the equally knuckleheaded but racist Pino. Both work at Bed-Stuy’s popular Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, but Pino has slightly more clout, because his father owns the joint. Frustrated by the absence of black stars on the restaurant’s dingy “Wall of Fame” of all-white celebrities, Mookie inquires why. Without bucking down to any PC rhetoric, Pino quips, “If you want to see blacks on the wall, build your own wall.”

The line came off caustic but nevertheless spoke the bitter truth about black America’s need for economic self-empowerment. Across the Atlantic, that famous scene resonated strongly with bassist and composer Gary Crosby, a black Brit, feeling disenfranchised from the U.K.’s jazz world. “That [scene in the movie] had a big effect on me,” he recalls. “Just build your own wall, and you can invite whomever you want-it’s simple as that.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.