Wherever he's gone, we hope he's still fighting the powers that be.
Actor Bill Nunn, best known for his role as the boombox-toting Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's 1989 film "Do the Right Thing," died Saturday in his hometown of Pittsburgh. He was 63 and had been battling cancer.
Director Lee paid tribute to his fellow Morehouse College alum in multiple Instagram posts, including one that alluded to the Public Enemy song that Raheem's radio is always blasting on the streets of Bed-Stuy during the movie.
My Dear Friend, My Dear Morehouse Brother- Da Great Actor Bill Nunn As Most Of You Know Him As Radio Raheem Passed Away This Morning In His Hometown Of Pittsburgh. Long Live Bill NUNN. RADIO RAHEEM Is Now RESTING IN POWER. RADIO RAHEEM WILL ALWAYS BE FIGHTING DA POWERS DAT BE. MAY GOD WATCH OVER BILL NUNN.
Another featured an illustrated tribute by the artist Naturel, a.k.a. Lawrence Atoigue.
And a third showcased a poem by the Brooklyn-based poet and spoken word artist Lemon Andersen.
An Original Poem By Lemon Andersen ...And than there was Radio Raheem, Flat top, tight fade, Built like an '89 NY Giant, The Majestic Brother you could hear two blocks away in any direction pumping Public Enemy from the horns of his Ghetto Blaster, the Conscience brother who wanted nothing but to be alone and live in the loud solace of his Radio... A Young, Black, Beautiful Man who died in the hands of Blue Fear and White Fury. People walked across the street when Radio Raheem came down the Block, the Starch in his frame scared them away from the Gap in his smile. The four fingered rings were seen like Brass knuckles when if you stopped him like Mookie did as the sun set On that Hot summer day in BK, Brooklyn You would see Raheems hands like his mind were worth its weight in Gold.
Lee and other commentators have noted the parallels between Raheem's death in "Do the Right Thing," in a police chokehold, to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an event that fueled grassroots activism against police brutality in communities of color.
Before we let Nunn go, let's revisit his character's philosophical musings on the war between love and hate, worth keeping in mind this election cycle: