Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not pleased with the working title of Spike Lee’s upcoming film Chiraq.
The word, a combination of “Chicago” and “Iraq,” was reportedly coined by locals living in Englewood to describe the violent turn the neighborhood had taken.
Lee took the term as the title of his project, which focuses on the growing problem of violence and crime in Chicago and especially in the Englewood area.
“We had an honest, frank conversation,” Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune. “He said that while the movie is about the neighborhood of Englewood, I was clear that I was not happy about the title. I told him also that there are very good people that live in Englewood who are raising their family, and there’s a lot of positive things that are happening in Englewood mainly driven by the people that make up Englewood.”
Emanuel added that while he disagreed with the title, the topic was still important to cover.
Emanuel said gun and gang violence is not a problem specific to Chicago but an issue in other major cities like New York and Baltimore. Emanuel said he told Lee:
“Given you’re a great artist, while I don’t support the title and I don’t like the working title, the topic is a conversation that has been ignored for too long and needs to be discussed.”
Chicago Alderman Will Burns is also displeased with the title. “With the title ‘Chiraq,’ that’s branding whole parts of the city,” Burns said . “For people who live on the South and West sides who pay their taxes, are active in block clubs and work to make the neighborhood better, it’s a slap in the face.”