by Michelle Marques
Radio Raheem is an iconic character in Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing. His character in the film is a symbol of Black pride as racial tensions continue to mount during a sweltering summer in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Radio Raheem is never seen without his trademark "Bed-Stuy, Do or Die" t-shirt, "Love and Hate" four finger rings, African pendant, and oversized boom box.
Radio Raheem's t-shirt and African pendant represents his unwavering pride for his hometown of Bed-Stuy and his African roots. This pride can be seen as he acts as a revolutionary in his neighborhood by protesting the lack of Black faces on the "Wall of Fame" at Sal's Famous Pizza. In the film, Radio Raheem uses his rings as a metaphor of the continuous struggle between Love and Hate in life. His rings also reflect his own inner struggle between the love he has for his neighborhood and black heritage and the hate he feels towards the racism of Sal, an Italian-American, and his sons. Radio Raheem's look is not complete without his oversized boom box that constantly blasts "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy.
As he walks through Bed-Stuy blasting this prophetic anthem Radio Raheem is the voice of African Americans who are tired of remaining silent in the face of discrimination.