Spike Lee has come under fire from critics and Chicagoans alike for turning the Windy City’s widespread issues with gun violence into a musical-comedy for his new film Chi-Raq, and now Chance the Rapper has added his voice to the chorus of detractors slamming the film. In a series of tweets, the Chicago native blasted the film, calling it “goofy,” “exploitive and problematic.”
“Let me be the one from Chicago to personally tell you we not supporting this film out here,” Chance said of Chi-Raq Friday. “That shit get ZERO love out here. Shit is goofy and it’s a bunch of ppl from NOT around here telling you to support that shit. The people that made that shit didn’t do so to ‘Save Lives.’ It’s exploitive and problematic.”
Chance also took issue with the film’s plot, which reworks Aristophanes’ Lysistrata — an Ancient Greek comedy about women withholding sex from soldiers in order to end the Peloponnesian War – and places the story in present-day, violence-ridden Chicago. “Also the idea that women abstaining from sex would stop murders is offensive and a slap in the face to any mother that lost a child here,” the rapper tweeted.
Much of the criticism for Chi-Raq stems from a belief that Lee, a director born and bred in New York, was the wrong filmmaker to tackle the topic of violence in Chicago. “You don’t do any work with the children of Chicago, You don’t live here, you’ve never watched someone die here,” the rapper tweeted. “Don’t tell me to be calm.”
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Hours later, Chance said his criticisms weren’t pointed at Lee. “Just clarifying, I’m not damning the director of the film or anyone involved in making it. I am damning the film and the ideas it conveys,” he tweeted.
Chance the Rapper isn’t the only Chicago rapper to air their displeasure with Chi-Raq: Chief Keef tweeted in November, “Damn Spikey….. Chiraq isn’t defined enough on that movie! It should be showing what’s really going on.” Chief Keef’s manager Peeda Pan also told GQ, “If somebody is going to do a Chicago movie and call it ‘Chi-Raq’ it needs to be somebody from Chicago.”