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Spike Lee responds to Chance the Rapper’s Chi-Raq criticism

on December 10, 2015, 12:55pm

Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq was bound to cause controversy. Any film trying to address the very real, very present crisis of gun violence in American and particularly on the streets of Chicago is bound to have its detractors. In a recent string of tweets, Chance the Rapper expressed his own opinions on Lee’s joint, calling it “exploitive and problematic” and saying the film’s plot of women withholding sex until their men put down their weapons was “offensive and a slap in the face to any mother that lost a child here.”

Now, in a new interview with MSNBC (via The 405), Lee has responded to Chance’s words. “First of all, Chance the Rapper should say full disclosure: his father works for the mayor,” Lee began, referring to the fact that Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, is Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s deputy chief of staff and director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. “He’s the chief of staff. His father is the chief of staff. Show me any criticism, if you’re so concerned about Chicago, do your research, show me where he’s made criticisms about the mayor. I think your finds will be surprising. He’s not criticized the mayor. Why? His father works for the mayor.”

(Read: Does Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq Do the Right Thing?)

Lee went on note that “Jennifer Hudson is in the film. She plays a pivotal role. Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered in Chicago… If what Chance the Rapper is saying is true, then why would Jennifer be in the film?”

Elsewhere in the interview, Lee discussed his meeting with Mayor Emanuel prior to the film’s production, specifically addressing the mayor’s request to change the title. “His reasons for changing the title were troubling to me. He said the title Chi-Raq would hurt tourism and economic development.”

Things get pretty heated near the end, so watch the full thing below.