Chance the Rapper and Spike Lee‘s war of words over Lee’s controversial 2015 musical comedy Chi-Raq has re-surfaced after Lee called Chance a “straight-up fraud” during a talk at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Even with the name “Chi-Raq” Lee is asking for it, but the content is what seems to have pissed Chance off. Chi-Raq, described by Chance as “exploitive and problematic,” is a modern day take on Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, set in Chicago’s south side. The story follows the female partners of rival gang members who decide to abstain from sex in an effort to stop gun violence in their neighbourhoods. The film has been criticised extensively for showing an over-simplified view of complex issues through the skewed perspective of an outsider.
You don't do any work with the children of Chicago, You don't live here, you've never watched someone die here. Don't tell me to be calm
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) December 4, 2015
After screening the film at Northwestern, Lee conducted a Q&A with students, some of whom accused Lee of turning systemic violence into a joke and sexualising black women. When addressing the criticisms he had faced from Chicago native Chance, Lee said, “He puts himself up as a speaker of the people, but that means you have to put truths that you see. That doesn’t mean you can pick and choose what you talk about,” referring to the fact that Chance’s father is the Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel’s chief of staff. This is a point he previously brought up in an interview with MSNBC where he said, “His father works for the mayor. He’s the chief of staff… show me anywhere he’s made criticisms about the mayor. Why? His father works for the mayor.”
After Lee’s comments from his Northwestern talk surfaced, Chance was back on Twitter attacking him.
Come on now This guy promoting this offensive unsuccessful flop of a movie … about the Southside…in fucking Evanston…
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) March 8, 2016
Lee describes Chi-Raq as “heightened reality”, Chance calls it “sexist and racist.”