Spike Lee Responds to Chance the Rapper Calling ‘Chi-Raq’ “Exploitive and Problematic”


Last week, Chicago native Chance the Rapper posted a series of Tweets criticizing Spike Lee’s new film Chi-Raq for being “exploitive and problematic.” Though Chance did eventually clarify by saying, “I’m not damning the director of the film or anyone involved in making it, I am damning the film and the ideas it conveys,” Lee has responded to his allegations during his one-on-one interview with MSNBC’s Chris Heyes.

When Heyes brought up Chance’s tweets, Lee said:

First of all, Chance the Rapper should say full disclosure: his father [Ken Bennett] works for the mayor. His father is the chief of staff… 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.

Lee then cited Jennifer Hudson’s participation in the film, saying, “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?”

Heyes then brings up all the objections to the implications of the film’s title, a subject discussed during Lee’s pre-production meeting with Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel:

It wasn’t good. He was not happy. He never said ‘Spike, you can’t make this film’ […] He was trying to convince me to change the title of Chi-raq—first of all, I didn’t come up with the title; local Chicago rappers came up with the title. And his reasons for changing the title were troubling to me; he said the title Chi-raq would hurt tourism and economic development.

Watch the MSNBC interview below: