Chi-raq Sheds Light on Chicago Epidemic of Violence

chiraqThe always controversial and thought-provoking filmmaker Spike Lee is back at it again. Lee is under fire from critics who say his upcoming movie, “Chi-raq,” trivializes Chicago gang violence as the city reels from yet another rash of shootings — including the slaying of a 9-year-old boy. Lee saw  nearly 400 shootings while filming his film in Chicago.

CHI-RAQ Trailer from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks on Vimeo.

In the new trailer for “Chi-raq”, women in contemporary inner-city Chicago,  joins forces to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and boyfriends as a way to force them to put down their guns.

The movie is loosely based on “Lysistrata,” Aristophanes’ classical comedy about women in ancient Greece who take similar action against their men to negotiate an end to the Peloponnesian War.

It’s title is a mashup of Chicago and Iraq, suggesting that some city neighborhoods are like war zones.

The trailer’s comic tone has upset some Chicago leaders , including the Mayor, as it is viewed the wrong way.

“Because sexualizing and making a comedy out of Chicago’s gun violence and labeling it ‘Chiraq’ isn’t the way to go. AT ALL,” tweeted Thelonious Martin, a Chicago hip-hop producer.

“From the trailer alone it feels like Spike Lee sold his own people out to make a film centered around an issue that is very real,” he added in another Twitter message.

As of Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune, there were 421 homicides in the city this year, compared with 435 in all of last year. And the number of shootings this year — 2,587 — has already matched the total for all of 2014.

Spike Lee tweeted recently about 9 year old Tyshawn Lee