Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn't too pleased with the title of Spike Lee's upcoming Amazon Studios movie, Chiraq. During a meeting on Wednesday, Emanuel said that he spoke with Lee about the movie, and Lee told him it was about the violence in Chicago's Englewood section.
The city was given the nickname “Chiraq” after people started comparing the number of gun-violence casualties in neighborhoods like Englewood to what was happening in Iraq. Many people feel that the name is degrading not just to the city but also to those who lost their lives to gun violence in Chicago and abroad.
"We had an honest, frank conversation," Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "He said that while the movie is about the neighborhood of Englewood, I was clear that I was not happy about the title. I told him also that there are very good people that live in Englewood who are raising their family and there's a lot of positive things that are happening in Englewood, mainly driven by the people that make up Englewood."
Lee hasn't released a full plot for the movie, but earlier this month The Wrap reported that he's eyeing Chicago natives Kanye West and Common to star in the movie, as well as Jeremy Piven and Samuel L. Jackson.
Emanuel didn't say whether Lee would change the title, but he does see a possible silver lining regarding the film.
"He did say the movie would take on the subject of black-on-black violence, specifically African-American-male to African-American-male violence, and how it's affecting the community and what goes on," Emanuel said. "I said then, and I believe, that's an important conversation to have. Given you're a great artist, while I don't support the title and I don't like the working title, the topic is a conversation that has been ignored for too long and needs to be discussed."
Chiraq will be released for streaming on Amazon.com, but production has yet to begin.