- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he sat down Wednesday for “an honest, frank conversation” with movie director Spike Lee to voice his displeasure with the title “Chi-Raq,” an upcoming film about black-on-black violence in the city’s Englewood neighborhood.

Mr. Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune that he takes issue with the director’s decision to name his movie “Chi-Raq,” because the nickname tarnishes the positive about Englewood. The nickname is a play on words from “Iraq” and has been adopted by Chicago rappers because of extreme violence in the area.

“[Mr. Lee] said that while the movie is about the neighborhood of Englewood, I was clear that I was not happy about the title,” the mayor said. “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.”

Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Lee acknowledged during their meeting at City Hall that Chicago isn’t the only violent city in America, the Tribune reported.

“It’s happening in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, where he’s from,” the mayor said. “He talked about a name of a part of Brooklyn where he’s from. He talked about how Philadelphia’s referred to. He talked about how Baltimore’s referred to.”

Mr. Emanuel said he hopes some good can still come from the movie.

“[Mr. Lee] 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,” Mr. Emanuel told the Tribune. “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.”

The mayor did not say whether Mr. Lee agreed to consider changing the “Chi-Raq” title, the Tribune reported.

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