Spike Lee Defends ‘Chiraq’

Spike Lee (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Images/Invision)
Spike Lee (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Images/Invision)

Spike Lee is making a film called Chiraq, a term recently applied to various violence-plagued neighborhoods and references Chicago’s gun violence and war-torn Iraq. And no, he doesn’t care how that film title negatively affects Chicago’s tourism prospects.

On Thursday at Chicago’s St. Sabina Church, he responded to critics worried about the city’s business and tourism, stressing that the film’s intent is not to defame the city but expose the realities of children dying in multiple areas.

“We felt it was appropriate that we say what the narrative is; the filmmakers, the people doing this, not the people just judging from afar and, again, don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.” he said, according to CBS Chicago. “A lot of things have been said about this film by people who know nothing about the film. A lot of people have opinions about the so-called title of the film. Again, they know nothing about the film.”

The filmmaker plans to set the Amazon Studios project in Englewood, and met with a displeased Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel last month to discuss shooting the film in the Illinois city. Still, Lee noted that the film is necessary — especially after Wednesday’s local reports of 14 shootings.

“If you do not tell the truth, then you must have fear,” Lee explained. “We have to stop the madness, this is insane. Don’t go for ‘Okey-doke.’ Don’t go for it. This is nothing about Chicago losing tourism. Come on, please. Come on. Stop with the rudy-poop. This film is not about Chicago losing business. … Let’s not put the loss of property and profit over human life.”

He continued, according to the Chicago Tribune, “Way way back when I made ‘Do the Right Thing,’ there were people who said this film would cause riots all across America, that black people were going to run amok. … They wrote a whole bunch of things. But those people ended up being on the wrong side of history. And the same is going to happen in Chicago. They are going look stupid and end up on the wrong side of history. We’re here for peace. We have to stop this.”

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Ashley Lee

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