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The Story of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," and Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing," 30 Years Later (feat. Dart Adams)

Season 1, Ep. 59

In 1989, Public Enemy broke up -- just after recording their signature song, "Fight the Power," and just before it became the musical centerpiece of Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing." The reason for their breakup, and the story of their reunion, is the subject of our latest episode.


Our special guest this week is Dart Adams of the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast, and the author of the Okayplayer story "In the Summer of 1989 'Fight the Power' Saved Public Enemy & Almost Sank 'Do the Right Thing.'"


Public Enemy had always been a team of rivals. Leader Chuck D managed both the flamboyant comedy of his legendary sideman, Flavor Flav, and the seriousness of Professor Griff, the group's designated "minister of information" and leader of the military-modeled step squad the S1Ws.


But then Griff make anti-Semitic comments soon before the release of "Do the Right Thing." The ensuing protests threatened both Public Enemy and Spike Lee's hard-fought achievements.


No one in the group condoned Griff's remarks. But no one wanted to be seen as kowtowing to critics, either, as a matter of principle. Chuck D had to decide whether to break with his friend to save the future.


We hope you like the episode, and will be sure to check out the "Dart Against Humanity" podcast wherever you're listening to this.

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