Chance The Rapper Responds to Spike Lee, Continues Criticism of "Chi-Raq"

Chance explains that PTSD is at the root of Chicago's violence, focuses on Jason Van Dyke and more.
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Chance explains that PTSD is at the root of Chicago's violence, focuses on Jason Van Dyke and more.

And so the saga continues. 

Chance The Rapper took to local radio station WGCI 107.5 yesterday morning to address the recent back-and-forth between him and director Spike Lee over the the newly-released Chiraq and touch on some of the issues that have been facing his hometown of Chicago in recent weeks.  

Speaking on the Morning Takeover Show with Kyle, Kendra and Leon, Chance touched on the intricacies of the city he grew up in and still calls home, the recent strife over the shooting of Laquan McDonald and exactly why he and many others from his hometown have been vocally upset at their depiction in the film, which focuses on gang violence in Chicago in the mold of the classic Greek play, Lysistrata. 

After finally seeing the movie on Monday, Chance further explained his position:

“It was the oversimplification of a complicated problem when he brought it up and he really wasn't focusing on the issues of Chicago, it wasn't really about Chicago to me, it was about this age-old conversation of black on black violence which is to me, some Bill Cosby 'pull up your pants' stuff and I'm just not for it.

The fact that he has actors that are in their late 30s, I think Wesley Snipes is in his 50s playing rival gangs in Chicago, I think the reason I was so outspoken about it wasn't because  I was trying to explain to Chicago it was fu, Chicago knew it wa fu from the jump.

I was trying to explain to people from outside of Chicago that it's marketed to that it's not a representation of us and we're not rocking with it."

Chance continued:

"The reason why we're dying isn't because there's two head gangbangers that are into it, we're dying because we all have PTSD. You know, post-traumatic stress disorder. Kids as young as seven and younger than that have seen people murdered in front of them so that starts a paranoia in your mind that you're walking around with and when you're walking around thinking that people are trying to kill you, you shoot when you get scared, it's a problem even I have, it's a problem a lot of people suffer from. I feel like he didn't address that, he said we're doing it because of gang life or because our male ego is being compromised when we don't fight but that's the smallest part of it, we're people who are scared."

Last week, Lee responded to Chance’s tweets calling his movie “exploitative and problematic” by pointing out in the press that the 22-year-old’s father works for embattled Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Furthermore, he questioned Chance’s lack of criticism of Emanuel. Chance responded on Sunday at SNL by carefully touching on recent issues in Chicago, adding a new verse to his best work of 2015, "Sunday Candy": "Jason Van Dyke, had to say something on Saturday, see ya at church Sunday, open my phone on Monday, I wonder what the internet gon' say."

Touching on the criticisms of his father's role in City Hall, Chance explained: "My overall view of the thing is that all of them are guilty. Anybody who had knowledge of the tape and kept it secret is guilty. Anita Alvarez is guilty of giving trumped up charges to Jason Van Dyke. Let's not forget that name, we talk about Laquan McDonald a lot and I just want to point out that it is a deflection technique to make you look at the victim of the crime as a suspect and what he did with his life. Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald and he should be tried with second degree murder and manslaughter and not first degree because that's premeditated and Anita Alvarez gave him trumped up charges so that he could be acquitted of that. Just remember, Jason Van Dyke has not been convicted of any crimes yet."

Spike Lee shopped the idea around for this movie roughly three years before he decided that the sensitive subject of Chicago street violence was the right backdrop for it. Even then, Amazon was the only willing suitor. This was about personal ego and agenda, which is fine - as long as you’re up front about it.

In the Midwest, where I've lived my entire life, people are forgiven for their shortcomings as long as they're made aware of them. The fact that Lee has repeatedly attempted to make this about something more than himself is getting downright embarrassing. Chance critiqued his film calmly and in turn Lee attacked him personally. King Louie just put out a song named “Fuck Spike Lee,” but I'm betting Lee won't address that directly.

Of course the New Yorker gave the film a positive review, they’re apparently as out of touch with the subject matter of the film as the director. It's obvious who's missing the point entirely. Shout out to Chance for setting the record straight.

[by Jake Krez, who is from Chicago, not Chiraq. You can follow him on Twitter. Image via Instagram.]