Chance The Rapper is the latest and most high-profile of Chicago natives to speak out against Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” film.
The film, which addresses the long-running gun violence epidemic that has plagued Chicago’s African-American community for decades, is centered around a group of frustrated women who band together to withhold sex from their men in hopes of getting them to put down their guns. Inspired by the ancient satirical Greek tale”Lysistrata,” the movie is intended to shine a light on parts of the epidemic that have flown under the radar in mainstream entertainment thus far, but Chance says it misses the mark by a long shot.
He took to his Twitter yesterday evening just as the film hit theaters to let the world know that as far as he’s concerned, Chicago doesn’t support Chi-Raq at all.
Taking it a step further, Chance also accuses the filmmakers of having ulterior motives for making the film that stray from far from any effort to “save lives,” while also labeling it as “exploitive and problematic.”
The overall response to the film by critics, Chicago residents and general audiences has been mixed thus far.
The Chicago Tribune described the movie as a potential cinematic victory for Hollywood but “a disservice” to Chicagoans for not highlighting the real-life struggles of the city’s residents who live “behind iron-clad doors and windows, afraid to go outside after dark,” or their children who “risk their lives just by walking a block or two to school.” The publication also criticized the satirical and comedic undertones of the film, pointing out that the situation is far from a laughing matter on any level. This was a sentiment slightly echoed by Chance, who said the notion that women withholding sex from men would put an end to murders is an insult to mothers who have lost sons to gun violence.
Chance rounded out his stream of consciousness by responding to those criticizing his comments, insisting that they can’t know what it’s like for the people living through the real “Chi-Raq” by looking in from the outside.
Spike Lee has yet to address Chance’s comments.