Justice Scalia’s recent comment about black students, let “them…go to a less advanced school, a slower track school where they do well.” Raise your hand if it didn’t embarrass you.
Chi-Raq is a creative cinematic work of art by Director Spike Lee that you will either enthusiastically embrace or reject out of hand. Analyzing the horrid costs of gun violence in the City of Chicago, Mr. Lee shines an unashamed camera at the causes and a possible cure.
A magnetic film that is outrageous at nearly every turn, Lee uses as his theme the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes. In this case, a group of Chicago women grow so disgusted with young people being gunned down daily in their city that they take over a National Guard facility, embracing the theme of “No peace, no pussy.” Initially confronted with laughter, the gangs of Chicago quickly see the consequences flowing from their love of firearms.
This women’s movement, led by Teyonah Parris, soon convinces many female cohorts that they can no longer tolerate the inexcusable murder of children on the city streets. Playing Lysistrata, Ms. Parris is the love interest of a rapper known by the name of Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon). Her small group soon grows to enormous numbers as women ranging from the middle class to prostitutes suddenly cross their legs and alter their motto to read, “No peace, no piece”. You’ll love these women.
There are some other interesting performances, beginning with Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett and John Cusack. Ms. Hudson plays Irene, a mother of a dead child who forms the heart of this women’s movement, while Ms. Bassett (Ms. Helen) encourages the protesters when some start to question the meaning of their movement. Mr. Cusack, playing a white urban preacher (Father Mike Corridan), delivers a powerful sermon during the church funeral for Ms. Hudson’s son. He gives an oration that should be seen by all presidential candidates of both parties.
I should also mention the fact that Samuel L. Jackson repeatedly appears as a narrator of the film, speaking in rhymes that are at times profanely funny. You won’t forget him.
Mr. Lee’s film challenges America to look behind the curtain when it comes to gun violence. Since 2001, more Chicago residents have been murdered than the collective number of American soldiers who died in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While our elected leaders and presidential candidates urge us to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to a meaningful discussion about passing sensible gun legislation, the fact remains that black residents of major metropolitan areas are being betrayed. While the gun industry makes millions selling various weapons to white citizens, these guns find a way into our central cities where black citizens kill black citizens and no one does anything but pray.
Like it or not, Chi-Raq has the courage to point out how lingering racism spawned from centuries of slavery is still seen in this country. And for those who think that racism is a dead issue, look at Lindsay Graham’s recent comment that nearly 40% of Republican primary voters believe that President Obama was born in Kenya, a claim previously advocated by frontrunner Donald Trump.
What Mr. Lee does is offer a meaningful alternative to a government that does nothing about this ghastly problem. What do you think the reaction would be if all women in our society simply said, “Turn in your guns or consider masturbation to be your only sexual outlet.”
Make fun of it all you want, but I think even Donald Trump would be forced to take action if Melania locked his bedroom door.