Chiraq Owes Us an Apology

El Buchanan The widely anticipated film Chiraq directed by Spike Lee recently came out with its first trailer. The movie is a satire film that has drawn up quite a controversy especially in the Chicagoland area. Does Spike Lee have the right to talk about Chicago’s struggle? Lee is one of the most prominent directors of all time, coming out with controversial films such as Do the Right Thing and Malcom X. The problem is, Spike Lee is from New York; actually, he was one of New York’s biggest activists. So, how can a film capture the essence of violence in Chicago, if the director does not even know the city? Speaking about the struggle and heartbreak of the people from the South Side is hard to do if someone has not lived there.   The first point of controversy is the title of the movie. Calling the film Chiraq is an embarrassment to Chicago and some news sites claim that Lee thought of the name. The name was something thought of by Chicago rappers after it was discovered there have been more homicides in Chicago than Iraq. Hearing this fact, one would think the movie is about the comparison between Iraq and Chicago, but the movie’s plot has nothing to do with that. The movie’s plot is based off the Greek myth Lysistrata in which Persian women give up sex with their husbands in an effort to force them not to go to war. Spike Lee using this as basis for the movie is viewed by many as sexist and not helping find a solution to gun violence. Over-sexualizing men and making them look as “gangster” as possible is not the right way to portray Chicago. The end of gun violence is a solution that should be talked about respectfully, and the way Lee is trying to bring it up is viewed as inaccurate and offensive to many. The trailer was released at a time when gun violence was at an all-time low. On Monday, Nov. 2, nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee was walking into a alley at 4 PM to visit his grandparents when he was shot multiple times and killed. It was later discovered that he was shot by a rival gang of his father’s. This is just one example of the heartbreaking violence in Chicago. Tyshawn being shot and the trailer coming out at the same time shows how inaccurate the movie really is. Spike Lee is trying to bring the topic of gun violence up in a way that is not showing the real things that are happening in Chicago. Making a satire film about something that you are not familiar with is tricky as it is. Spike Lee not doing justice to a topic that should be spoken up about is upsetting. But, the question is how does this affect Latin students? The first thing anyone can do is be aware that we are privileged to go to an extremely safe school. Awful things are happening throughout the city, but we have to make sure not to generalize an entire half of our city like this movie is doing. Saying everyone on the south side is awful and dangerous and that everyone is in a gang is ignorant. Before making generalizations think about what you can do to help the situation and don’t look at fellow Chicagoans as inferior to you. This entire article is based off of one trailer. I’m still going to see the movie, but if the trailer measures up to the actual film then I think that Chiraq deserves an apology. Here is a link to the trailer: https://vimeo.com/144523728]]>