Why I’m still disappointed with Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-raq’
November 12, 2015 at 7:00 am
To say ‘I told you so’ would literally bring me no pleasure.
I, and others, wrote about our disappointment with the Chi-raq trailer, positing that Spike Lee might have possibly missed telling the story that the people of Chicago really need. Art has the power to transform and heal in a way that that no other medium that currently exists does. Medicine cures the body, art speaks to the soul. After watching the trailer, I’m not sure who Mr. Lee really thought he was speaking to, or for. With the release of a music video for “WGDB,” a song on the film’s soundtrack, I’m honestly even more confused than before. However, I’m still sure my opinion is that there’s not much to look forward to when it comes to Spike’s Chicago-set Greek satire.
It’s bad enough that this song is closer to trash than it is to *flame emojis,* but there are some seriously questionable lyrics, as well as more than a tablespoon of respectability politics in the mix.
The first line asks us to forget about “our favorite father” Bill Cosby, and instead focus on the murder of 7-year-old Amari Brown, a young boy killed while celebrating the Fourth of July with his family in Humboldt Park — because clearly, two tragedies at one time is just too much to pay attention to. Then, the singer-songwriter Kevon Carter goes on to detail how black-on-black violence should be the main focus of the black community because, according to him, “we’re the only race that shoots and kills themselves.” Really, bruh? For real? There are also mentions of the Drake/Meek Mill beef, Cecil the Lion, and some pretty shady insinuations about the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Kevon wants you to “point the finger at yourself.”
As for reasons why Spike let this fly? I literally have none. I talked with my girlfriend, trying to find out a motivation for the creation and release of this piece of hot garbage. I really love and appreciate that he’s trying to bring light to the issues of violence in Chicago, as I’ve said before, but at this point, is it really too crazy to suggest that, possibly, Spike is about to do more harm than good?
I think so. It feels pretty silly at this point, but I still am doing my best to hold on to faith that Chi-Raq will be a piece of art that will do some healing. I just wish Spike Lee was helping me.