Spike Lee's latest movie, Chi-Raq, has attracted criticism since its release last week. On Twitter, Chance the Rapper called it "exploitative and problematic." The MC King Louie released a new song titled "Fuck Spike Lee." An essay on A Country Called Earth suggested, "This film is in danger of pacifying white accountability while demanding Black responsibility."
In an interview with MSNBC, Spike fought against these claims. Notably, he suggested that Chance The Rapper has a conflict of interest. "First of all," the director declared, "Chance the Rapper should say full disclosure: his father works for the mayor. 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 major. Why? His father works for the major."
According to the interview, Spike met with the mayor in pre-production. "He never said Spike, you can't make your film," the director explained. "But he was trying to convince me to change the title 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."
Towards the end of the interview, Spike becomes more energetic. "As an artist, I'm going to look at it, and I'm going to look at both sides," he says. Watch above.