With or without Kanye West, Spike Lee’s upcoming movie for Chiraq is proceeding as planned, which has plenty of citizens living in the Windy City up in arms over the title.
The acclaimed filmmaker didn’t coin the term–a portmanteau of “Chicago” and “Iraq” that highlight’s the city’s warlike violence plague–the streets and Hip-Hop culture did. However, he’s putting on national display as means to bring awareness to what the predominately Black neighborhoods in the country’s third-largest face.
The New York Times did a bit of a street survey to gauge the people’s reactions over their city being dubbed as Chiraq and they got a mixed bag of either criticism or hope that the drastic labeling will finally bring some needed change to the crime-laden environment.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and alderman William Burns were among to of the biggest detractors for the title.
“A lot of people take offense to the term Chiraq,” Burns told The Times. “These are communities where people are doing the right thing, people trying to have a decent neighborhood. Having a movie called ‘Chiraq’ will make it much more difficult for folks like me and other aldermen to bring economic development to those neighborhoods. Who wants to live in a place that people call Chiraq?”
Janelle Rush, a 24-year-old student, was also profiled to express her disdain for Lee’s header saying, “I don’t embrace the title.”
However, those actively in the heart of the city’s most affected vessels are seeing the silver lining ahead. Chicago rapper Lil Durk has made a name for himself touching on the most hardened sections of the city and he recently told Hip-Hop Wired that Lee is doing “exactly what he’s supposed to be doing.” His debut album, Remember My Name, drops tomorrow, June 2.
Rev. Michael Pfleger is also supporting Lee’s effort by lending him office space within his church, St. Sabina, he admitted he hopes “the film will face head on this violence that’s really becoming a genocide, and cause us to hold up a mirror to it.”
Filming for Chiraq has yet to take place but Lee is currently campaigning for a $3 million tax credit to shoot the movie, which of course, has angered Chicagoans even further.
Photo: CBS Chicago