Best Poem: ‘Do The Right Thing’ by Mohamed Tall

Although poet Mohamed Tall’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ isn’t from this year, it has, over the past year or so, become a powerful protest poem (think of it as our own ‘Alright’) and perhaps the most accessible example of the city’s burgeoning poetry scene. Tall performed the polysyllabic anti-police brutality poem, which culminates with a bent recreation of the “we want some brothers on the wall” scene from Spike Lee’s 1989 movie, “Do The Right Thing,” at a West Wednesday event last year on the one-year anniversary of Baltimore’s march for Ferguson. Not long after, the poem’s refrain, “I got a target on my body somebody please protect me” was chanted by activists on the day of Officer William Porter’s mistrial. And when Tall performed it at Red Emma’s during the book release event for Tariq Touré’s “Black Seeds,” tears streamed down his face—and the faces of people watching, too.

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