Watch the Trailer for Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’
It's been a little over 20 years since Prodigy said, "There's a war going on outside no man is safe from." But from city to city, it still rings true, with America still infamous for its rampant gun violence and growing income inequality. A rash of highly-publicized instances of (often fatal) police brutality over the past 15 months have pushed the intersection of all these issues to the forefront of our national conversation. Rap has continued to act as a conduit through which artists and listeners process socioeconomic problems, except when it hasn't. The music that comes from many of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods has been dismissed by many academics as merely symptomatic of--or by some particularly out-of-touch commenters, contributing to--the continued danger.
Spike Lee, the director whose seminal 1989 picture Do the Right Thing helped galvanize rap as a nationally visible protest music, is tackling that divide, perhaps in a roundabout way. Yesterday (Nov. 3), the trailer for Chi-Raq hit the Internet. The film, which stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Bassett, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson transposes the Greek comedy Lysistrata to Englewood and the rest of Chicago's South side. Penned by the famous Old Comedy playwright Aristophanes, Lysistrata is a comedy about the titular woman who organized her female friends in an effort to end the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their husbands. Chi-Raq will see a limited theatrical release beginning on Dec. 4 before moving to Amazon Instant Video.