CHICAGO (CBS) — The title of Spike Lee’s new movie might not sit well with some, but the filmmaker was not backing down from calling his upcoming film on Chicago’s gun violence “Chiraq,” as he defended his controversial work on Thursday.
Lee plans to set his movie in Englewood, one of several violence-plagued neighborhoods that have earned the nickname “Chiraq.” Some feel that name—a blend of Chicago and war-torn Iraq—furthers negative perceptions about the city.
The label has been slapped on the city by rappers and spread through social media because of gun violence in some Chicago neighborhoods including Englewood, where Lee plans to set his movie.
Supporters have said Lee’s film could potentially expose real problems in some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods.
Lee was at St. Sabina Church on Thursday to discuss the intent of his film. In response to all the criticism of the title, Lee said, “if you do not tell the truth, then you must have fear.”
He said his movie is about putting a stop to the violence, and nothing else.
“We felt it was appropriate that we say what the narrative is; the filmmakers, the people doing this, not the people just judging from afar,” he said.
Lee said his film will hold a mirror up to reality, like the spate of violence on Wednesday, when more than a dozen people were shot, three of them fatally.
“We have to stop the madness. This is insane,” he said. “This is nothing to do about Chicago losing tourism. This is not about Chicago losing business. Let’s not put the loss of property and profit over human life.”