On Dec. 4, Spike Lee’s long-anticipated film Chi-Raq was released. Based on reports, the film banked in at No. 13 at the box office, and during its opening weekend, an extra $15,000 per screen came from movie theaters located in Chicago. Chi-Raq received an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience approval of 67%. While it may have received positive reviews from critics, there is still controversy surrounding the film.
“Chi-Raq” is a combination of both “Chicago” and “Iraq,” and is often used by South Side residents in Chicago to compare the area to a war zone, due to the city’s sky-high rates of crime. The plot of the musical drama/satire spotlights gang violence in Chicago and is based on Aristophane’s Lysistrata. The classical Greek comedy play centered around women who would abstain from physical affection with their husbands as a form of punishment for their participation in war.
The star-studded cast includes Nick Cannon as Chi-Raq, Teyonah-Parris as Lysistrata, John Cusack as Fr. Mike Corridan, and more celebrities such as La La Anthony, Steve Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, and Dave Chappelle.
When the trailer was released in November, emergency physician Amy Ho published an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, criticizing the movie for using murders, seen nightly by local hospitals, for entertainment purposes. In addition, people took to social media to publicly share their opinion of the film, where many believe the satire is making light of a very serious issue.
What are your thoughts on the film? Will you see it if you haven’t already? Share your opinion with us below in the comment section.
So much respect lost for Spike Lee due to #ChiRaqTheMovie. Systemic racism and centuries of socioeconomic injustice are not punchlines.
— Rahiel Tesfamariam (@RahielT) December 3, 2015
— Sway Calloway (@RealSway) December 3, 2015
— Omar Moore (@popcornreel) November 30, 2015
— Lupe Fiasco (@LupeFiasco) December 8, 2015
— Son of Baldwin (@SonofBaldwin) December 5, 2015
— Leslie Odom, Jr. (@leslieodomjr) December 1, 2015