Spike Lee sought on Thursday to squash some rumors that have been swirling about his upcoming film on the violence that plagues parts of Chicago.
“A lot of things have been said about the film by people who know nothing about the film,” the famed director said during a news conference at St. Sabina Catholic Church. “We felt it was appropriate that we say what the narrative is, the filmmakers, the people who are doing this. Not the people that’s judging from afar.”
The film, which is reportedly titled “Chiraq”—though Lee referred to this as the “so-called-title”—has drawn the ire of city officials because it compares the city’s violence to the war zones of Iraq. Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly expressed his disdain for the title to Lee himself. According to NBC Chicago, Alderman Will Burns also called for the city council to cut Lee’s tax break unless he changes the film’s title. The moniker Chiraq was popularized by Chicago rappers Chief Keef and later used by stars like Kanye West, who was also raised in the Windy City.
“Everything I’ve done has led up to this film,” Lee said, adding a simple overall message: Don’t prejudge the film, whatever it may depict or be titled.
“I love Chicago, you know,” he said. “Wait until the movie comes out. You don’t like it, you don’t like, but wait, see it first.”
No details about the film, which may be a musical comedy based off of the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” but will not feature Kanye, were disclosed Thursday, but Lee reiterated the importance of it given a recent spate of shootings across the Chicago area, notably in the Englewood area.
“This is not a joke, this is not a game,” he said, “this is real life and death, and that’s the way we are going to approach this.”