ChiRaq: A Spike Lee PSA
In light of yesterday’s protests I figured that this was the perfect time to share what I thought while watching Spike Lee’s new movie Chi-Raq which addresses the ridiculous amount of black people who were/and are being murdered hourly in Chicago. The movie, similar (but not really) to Trina’s “A Miami Tale” is loosely based on the Greek comedy Lysistrata written by Aristophanes. The premise is a female led intimacy/sex strike to make the men stop a war. The war in this case is the drug and gang war which is taking place in present day Chicago.
While I overstand the rage surrounding Spike Lee’s use of the title “Chi-Raq”, he didn’t create it. Chicago did. Chicago also perpetuated the behavior that made the title stick. Maybe it was a small part of Chicago just like a small part of Philly created the phrases “jawn”, “yo”, & “Killadelphia” but it was homegrown nonetheless.
There is a deeper issue at hand here which everyone is seemingly overlooking, especially people from Chicago. What I saw depicted in this movie is what I saw when I was in Chicago. A city ravaged and divided by violence, racism & economic disparity.
What I saw today on CNN was a city fed up. Fed up with the stigma that a group of closed-minded people created and stamped which has led to the condoned overlooking of continued senseless acts of violence against/murders of Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd, & Jamar Clark (among countless others).
It’s ironic that the same people who profit from this AK toting, syrup sipping, pill popping, misogynistic ChiRaq culture are the same people who are disgusted at the movie. The same rappers who worship the gang leaders and defend the drug dealers’ way of life from song to album are upset with Spike for shedding light on what’s really going on. For showing the pain that the mothers go through after suffering the great loss of a child to senseless violence. For showing that the pain and guilt of drug dealing and senseless murder is what leads to the drug using. For showing that the reason these drug dealers resort to that life is largely due to the lack of economic development in a once burgeoning city.
Chicago should thank Spike Lee because all of the negative things ChiRaq could have been, it’s not. South Park has proven that if you want to get a message across to America, you must do it with honey and not salt. (Hence the photo above)
Today I saw a city united in a sense of hope under a common goal, removing the mayor they hold responsible. Hopefully we can continue to focus on those who damage our communities instead of those who hold the mirror up and the cup of sugar.