The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Spike Lee Calls Rahm A 'Bully' In New Interview On 'Chiraq'

By Justin Freeman in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 23, 2015 8:28PM

Spike Lee at a ceremony in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By now y’all probably know that Spike Lee is making a new movie called Chiraq. It’s going to a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata based here in Chicago. Lysistrata—originally performed in 411 B.C. in Athens—is the tale of Trojans and Spartans warring with each other. In the play the women involved withhold sex from the warriors in an effort to stop the violence. Lee aims to take Lysistrata and place it into the setting of modern day Chicago.

The movie has been incredibly divisive. Some are supportive and hope that Lee will create something that shines a light on the city’s long standing problems of segregation and gun violence, and that this film will help spur a systemic change. Others are wary that this film is not going to do much more than romanticize the aforementioned problems. Several prominent city figures think the latter is true and Spike has had issues with them as he filmed the movie.

Chicago Magazine recently sat down with Lee to talk about what it’s like to beef with several aldermen and the mayor:

“...Your mayor and I got off on the wrong foot, right away. What I didn’t like was him trying to paint me as this villain. I’m not the bad guy, but that’s how he was trying to portray it. Do I have the guns? Am I the one pulling the trigger? To be honest, he’s a bully,”

"You’re going to be on the wrong side of history," Lee said he told him. "What economic development is going on in the South Side?”

Whether you like Spike Lee or find him to be irritating, he’s not entirely wrong here. The city’s South and West Sides suffered the worst of the school closings, and food deserts run rampant in those areas. At the same time, there is a lot of positive things going on in the city’s south and west neighborhoods that are often overlooked. The Chosen Few™ Picnic has become a yearly tradition, a South Side institution and celebration of house music while Blue 1647, which has a location in Englewood, aims to teach people of color tech skills and help close the racial gap in tech.

The whole interview is interesting and is worth taking a look at. Lee also talks about his feelings on gun violence, Black Lives Matter and the intersection where both meet. Check out the full interview here.