Filmmaker Spike Lee has answered Chance the Rapper’s criticisms of Chi-Raq with some pointed words of his own.
Chance, who hails from Chicago, called Lee’s new film “exploitive and problematic” in a series of tweets last week. Chi-Raq is a retelling of the Greek comedy Lysistrata that centers on women organizing a sex strike to protest gun violence on Chicago’s South Side. But according to the rapper, “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.”
During a recent interview on All In With Chris Hayes, Lee noted that Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, works for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has faced harsh criticism for mishandling the fatal police shooting of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald.
“First of all, Chance the Rapper should say, full disclosure, his father works for the mayor,” Lee said. “He’s the chief of staff, or whatever the title is. […] Show me any criticism, if you’re so concerned about Chicago. Do your research, show me where he’s made criticisms about the mayor. I think your findings will be surprising. He has not criticized the major. Why? His father works for the major.”
Bennett is Emanuel’s deputy chief of staff and the director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement.
Lee also took issue with the charge that his film is “exploitive,” adding that Jennifer Hudson — whose mother, brother, and nephew were gunned down in Chicago in 2008 — plays “a pivotal role” in the project. “If what Chance the Rapper is saying were true,” Lee said, “then why would Jennifer be in the film?”
Chi-Raq is currently playing in limited release, and it will be available for streaming via Amazon Prime in the near future. Watch Lee’s interview with Hayes above.