What’s the Uproar Over Spike Lee’s Chi-raq Trailer?
Spike Lee recently announced a release date for his highly-anticipated next joint, Chi-raq, and Twitter has blown up in response to the trailer.
Chi-raq has a momentous release date of December 4th – not because of hip-hop mogul Jay Z’s birthday or Alpha Phi Alpha’s Founder’s Day – but because of the assassination of political organizer and Black Panther Chairman, Fred Hampton in Chicago on that date in 1969.
The word “Chi-raq” combines the words “Chicago” and “Iraq,” and seemingly contrasts the wars of the Middle East and the carnage happening at home. Native son Kanye West gave a nod to this war in the lyrics of “Murder to Excellence” from 2011’s “Watch The Throne” album. In it he spits… “I feel the pain in my city wherever I go / 314 soldiers died in Iraq / 509 died in Chicago.”
But the surprisingly animated trailer, with Samuel L. Jackson as narrator, reveals that the film is actually an adaptation of the classic comedy “Lysistrata” from 411 BC (yes, BC), where women hold out sex to end the Peloponnesian war. In Lee’s version, the women of Chi-town leverage guns for sex, and force men to end the violence that takes black lives by the hundreds (or at least that’s what the clip leaves us to speculate).
The film is a star-studded melange of A-list African-America with Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Jennifer Hudson, La La Anthony, oh and John Cusack.
Lee’s offering is the first film by Amazon Studios, a new platform to get film and series producers financing and support.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Chi-raq…
— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) November 3, 2015
I wanna actually see Chiraq before I pass judgment. Had I just seen a trailer for School Daze in 1988 I might’ve thought it was garbage too. — Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 3, 2015
I’m curious to see how folks from Chicago specifically view this. I see at the tail end they tackle use of “Chiraq.” https://t.co/cmFAm4XDiD
— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) November 3, 2015
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) November 3, 2015
Twitter isn’t gonna like Chiraq because it’s satire and most of y’all don’t know what that is. ??? — Jalen (@jalenmosby) November 3, 2015
I didn’t quite understand the #Chiraq trailer. Is the storyline that the strip clubs closed, leading to a dramatic decrease in crime?
— deray mckesson (@deray) November 3, 2015