Rahm Emanuel Dings Spike Lee Over Chiraq
Mayor told director he's not a fan of movie's working title
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2015 9:41 AM CDT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, with corporation counsel Steve Patton by his side, presides over the Chicago City Council Wednesday, April 15, 2015, in Chicago.   (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune via AP)
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(Newser) – Rahm Emanuel is not a fan of "Chiraq" as a nickname for Chicago—and he's really not a fan of the idea of Chiraq as the title of a film about black-on-black violence in the city. He told Spike Lee—the director behind Chiraq—as much yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reports. 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 explains. "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." The working title has been controversial, the Chicago Sun-Times notes; another city official asked Lee to change it last week, and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says he's "concerned."

As for "Chiraq," a nickname that the Trib notes is "often employed by rappers," Emanuel says he and Lee agreed that Chicago is far from the only violent city. "It's happening in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, where he's from," Emanuel 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." No word on whether the conversation convinced Lee to change his movie's title, but Emanuel says he told Lee he's fully in favor of the film's topic: "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 cast could include Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Piven, Common, and Kanye West, the Wrap noted last week.
 

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