Spike Lee Leads March Against Gun Violence
Spike Lee’s Chi-raq premiered in Manhattan on December 1st to critical acclaim. A modern take on the play Lysistrata, it tells the story of a Chicago woman’s attempts to end the rampant violence and destruction in her city by convincing other women to withhold sex.
It may seem like such a comical idea, if you’re going off Dave Chappelle‘s complaints about his missing strippers. But watching the trailer alone dispels any idea of this being a comedy. Chi-raq is a rallying cry against violence in all forms. That is why, rather than capping off a successful evening with a boozy after-party, Spike Lee organized a crowd and took to the streets. He used the moment to organize a protest against gun violence. Participants, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, marched from Ziegfeld Theater on 54th Street to Times Square, around 42nd Street.
Lee handed out American flag pins and orange hats (because orange is the color a hunter wears to avoid being shot) to the crowd of moviegoers; together, they marched for better gun control legislation. Only a day later, 14 innocent people would be killed in San Berdardino, California by several gunman, the 352nd shooting this year.
Earlier in the night, mere hours from the film’s premiere, Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel fired police chief Garry McCarthy for the police department’s utter mishandling of the Laquan McDonald shooting. Y’know, the 17-year-old who was shot by police roughly 14 months ago. Or, maybe, you don’t know at all. After all, the Chicago police department reportedly has kept footage of the shooting under wraps for roughly a year now. This, disgustingly enough, included a video of the shooting, which was released only recently. The questions were quickly asked: Who’s to blame for this? How far did the cover up go?
Spike Lee asked those questions to millions of viewers that same evening, when he took to CNN to speak of the shooting, the subsequent cover up, Chicago, and Rahm Emmanuel. “A lot of questions have to be answered…Who made the decision [on] why this tape was held [for] so long? And who saw the tape?” Unfortunately, there seems to be more questions than answers.
Images via Rolling Stone, Giphy, and WWNT Radio.