The Obamas greeted Lee and guests by revealing that they went to see "Do the Right Thing" on their first official date, with the president recalling that after lunch and a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, "I took her to this new movie everybody was talking about, directed by a guy that not that many people had heard of."
"He was trying to show me his sophisticated side by selecting an independent filmmaker," the first lady interjected.
While President Obama noted that the movie "help[ed] me impress Michelle," he also thanked Lee for "telling a powerful story."
"Today, I've got a few more grey hairs than I did back in 1989. You don't look like Mookie anymore," Obama quipped. "But 'Do the Right Thing' still holds up a mirror to our society, and it makes us laugh, and think, and challenges all of us to see ourselves in one another."
The Obamas also paid tribute to late actress Ruby Dee, who had a role in the film.
"Do the Right Thing" was released on June 30, 1989, and starred Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, and Rosie Perez. It received two Academy Award nominations, and has since been preserved on the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress.
[via: Vanity Fair]