Chi-Raq

Spike Lee so crazy.

I am a huge Lee fan. I give him props for renewing interest in black cinema almost 30 years ago with his debut film “She’s Gotta Have It.” I think Lee brings a unique style and pro-black stance to the film industry. He represented Black Lives Matter before black lives mattered. You always know when you are watching a Lee production even when it’s not a “black” film (“Inside Man”). Sometimes he goes too far (I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “Red Hook Summer” was about) and he tends to be hit or miss with his black female characters. Mostly miss.

So, I’m curious to see how he handles all the dynamic black women featured in the trailer for his new film “Chi-Raq.”

“Chi-Raq, Spike Lee’s latest joint, is an update of Aristophanes’ anti-war comedy Lysistrata, otherwise known as the play where all the women of Athens stop having sex with their husbands in an effort to bring the devastating Peloponnesian War to an end. Set in the modern day south Chicago Urban war zone nicknamed Chi-Raq (as in “Iraq”) the story sees a group of women organize against the on-going violence after the murder of a child by a stray bullet, by withholding sexual access to the point that even strippers refuse to work. What follows challenges the nature of sex, race and violence in America and the world.” http://deadline.com/2015/11/chi-raq-trailer-greek-comedy-in-chiacgos-south-side-1201605210/

Uh, oh. Black women and sexuality isn’t Lee’s strong point as was shown in the ill-fated “Girl 6.”  There’s also the controversial sexual assault of the lead character in “She’s…” Lee has said to be ashamed of that scene.  As he should be.

Well, we shall see how “Chi-Raq” turns out. What I enjoy about Lee’s films is that there tends to be messages for the black community, white racism, and ourselves. He better not be coming out with some nonsense.

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Spike Lee on Oprah’s Next Chapter

Lately, black folks have been hard on Spike Lee. I remember when Django Unchained came out last year, and Lee made it known he wasn’t feeling the movie  I remember a lot of my younger black Facebook friends, really going in on him. Someone even posted, “I loved Django.  Spike Lee needs to shut the f*ck up.” I remember being shocked to read that.

Young black folks (and some older ones) don’t realize how much Spike Lee revolutionized black cinema.  These folks were babies/not yet born when Lee debuted his film “She’s Gotta Have It.” Lee has made classic black films like “School Daze,” “Do The Right Thing,” and “Malcolm X.”

While I do think Lee could/should improve his representations of black women,  I can’t bash the man. He has tried to show the humanity/complexity of black life. Who else could make a thoughtful film about the black survivors of Hurricane Katrina?  Or the moving story of the murder of four little girls?

I also respect Lee for supporting Dee Rees making her film “Pariah.” I believe strongly that ALL black stories need to be told. It was progressive of Lee to support a film about a young black lesbian.  The film was virtually ignored by black media/black celebrities. So, much props to Lee for putting himself out there.

Any who, I’m doing all this ranting because Lee is being featured on Oprah’s Next Chapter. Check it out, if ya can: