Black Art Resurrected: My Review of Spike Lee’s Chi-raq

It was an honor to do the social media for the movie Chi-Raq.

Nikala Asante

chiraqIn an epic stroke of artistic genius, Spike Lee utilized the structure of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and the inspiration of a Liberian peace activist’s successful use of collective sexual abstinence to stop a war as a foundation for a satirical speculative fiction on how such a movement could stop violence in inner city Chicago. Chicago has been labeled by many as “Chi-raq”, due to the homicides exceeding those of U.S. troops in Iraq. Lee includes these factoids and many others in the film in such a consistent way that the satire could never be confused for simple humor.

Lee took the time to actually write the film in the cadence of Aristophanes’ play, complete with rhyming poetry throughout and intermittent choruses. Moreover, he layered the film with a plethora of references to traditional African linguistics, African spirituality, ideas of renowned psychologist – Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (see “Penis Envy” painted on…

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