Talk of the Town

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Spike Lee's 'Chiraq' trailer confuses and amuses

Atlanta-born, Morehouse grad Spike Lee is catching heat on social media with the release of the trailer from his upcoming film, "Chiraq" which deals with gun-violence in Chicago. The film hits theaters in December and is the first release from Amazon films.



The title, a combination of Chicago and Iraq, speaks to the murders that have plagued the city in recent years, including this week's shootings of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee and Kaylyn Pryor, a 20-year-old aspiring model. Both were shot and killed on Monday.

Things are so bad, the Chicago-Tribune has been tracking gun violence by neighborhood and as of today, the 2,587 shootings since Jan 2015 is equal to the total number in all of 2014 . The victims are overwhelmingly male, a phenomenon Lee deals with in the film which is a send-up to the classical Greek comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes:


The trailer went up and the tweets came flowing in:

The #Chiraq trailer just made me QUEASY. it feels SO CHEAP. #TyshawnLee was murdered yesterday. He was 9. Is that a joke? Is that clever?

— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) November 4, 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

Others seemed to get where Lee is going with all this:

Art is supposed to make us uncomfortable and ultimately open the book for conversation. #SpikeLee @SpikeLee #Chiraq

— Phoenix Golden (@jamesbgolden) November 4, 2015

Lee has been quiet so far, preferring to let an article in the December issue of Chicago magazine speak to some of the very issues people are raising with the film .

Which pretty much lets us know that he fully expected this response.

Carry on.

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.