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The assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a tipping point for African-American Vietnam War soldiers in this scene from Spike Lee’s latest film, “Da 5 Bloods” (streaming on Netflix). Following a group of veterans who travel back to Vietnam in search of a fallen soldier’s remains (and possibly buried treasure), the movie has a lot on its mind.
This sequence flashes back to a moment during the war when the Bloods learned from a radio broadcast of King’s death. The scene is intercut with archival footage of King’s funeral and the uprisings that ensued in multiple American cities. Narrating the sequence, Lee discusses basing it on stories he heard about the vehement response black soldiers in Vietnam had to the news and about how retaliation was considered. He also notes the parallels between that period and the current moment of protest over the killing of George Floyd.