The debut of Spike Lee’s newest joint Chi-Raq has left a lot of questions (and controversy) on the table, including a few inquiries as to why Kanye West and Common didn’t appear in the film. Several media outlets reported the director was looking to cast the Chicago rappers, but somewhere along the way, those plans went out the window.
Why, you ask? Rapper Rhymefest apparently has the answers.
Earlier this week, the Chicago native called into “Sway In The Morning” to give his take on the film and he did not mince his words.
“[Chi-Raq] is not authentic to the city,” Rhymefest said. “[…] The film has no Chicago writers, so nobody is really involved in the film on a creative level.”
He continued, “[Spike’s] using a fancy word for ‘comedy,’ he’s using the word ‘satire.’ Would you make a satire about 9/11? Would you make a satire about the Paris attacks? Would you make a satire about San Bernardino? If anybody other than a black face made this film, would we be saying, ‘Man, that shit’s racist’?”
Rhymefest went on to share the inside details as to why Kanye and Common passed on the project after being given the script. He explained:
"The guy who was supposed to play Chi-Raq was named Kanye West. When Kanye West read that script … why wasn’t Kanye West in the movie? ‘Cause the shit was wack. Then [Spike] went to Common … why wasn’t Common in the movie? ‘Cause the shit was wack. So the people who are closer to the streets and close to the understanding of where we are in Chicago declined to be in the movie. […] When Kanye asked Spike Lee, ‘Yo, can we get some Chicago writers on this so we can have some more authentic voices?’ Spike said, ‘Nah, I just want you to act.’ So if we’re really going to tell the truth, the people Spike Lee really wanted to be in the movie from Chicago declined.”
Chi-Raq, which opened in select theaters earlier this month, brought in just over $1 million at the box office. Lee has fiercely defended the film as being satire and said there were no intentions of making a mockery of Chicago and its ongoing issue with gun violence.
Ladies, have you seen the film? What are your thoughts? Sound off!
(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)