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‘Chi-Raq’ Star Angela Bassett on Chicago Gun Violence: ‘It’s Shameful’

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posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 09:14 AM
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‘Chi-Raq’ Star Angela Bassett on Chicago Gun Violence: ‘It’s Shameful’

For a long time, I've believed that moms are the only ones who really want to the stop the wanton violence we see in too many inner cities -- like Chicago... I even stated exactly that on another thread over the weekend. Plenty of people give lip service to the pain and devastation... plenty of people are quite happy to exploit the tragedy of others... some do so quite gleefully as they pat themselves on their back for their amazing insight (cough! choke! gag!)... but too often only for political points or to justify other personal biases and agendas.

I'm happy to say Angela Bassett and Spike Lee are proving me wrong.


“Chi-Raq,” a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, is set against the backdrop of soaring gang violence in Chicago.



In a recent sit-down with TheWrap, Bassett expressed her outrage over the bloodshed in Chicago. “It’s shameful, completely and utterly wasteful, shameful, hurtful to the core,” she said.


Ms. Bassett goes on to explain the title:


“I wasn’t familiar with the name ‘Chi-Raq’ as a nickname for Chicago based on what’s been going on in the community with young black men, children… innocent bystanders dying because of gang violence, and the nickname ‘Chi-Raq’ coming from more black folks dying than in the Iraq war,” Bassett said.


Although Ms. Bassett was not aware of the violence in the community, the one person who should know best, and should be doing the most to correct the problem, is also the one person who made it most difficult for Spike Lee to even make the movie: Rahm Emmanuel, the mayor of Chicago. As Mr. Lee explained in an interview with Chicago Magazine:


You’d barely announced the film when Mayor Emanuel went ballistic over the title and summoned you to City Hall in April. How did that go?

[Chuckles and shakes his head.] OK, so that’s where your mayor and I got off on the wrong foot, right away. What I didn’t like was him trying to paint me as this villain. I’m not the bad guy, but that’s how he was trying to portray it. Do I have the guns? Am I the one pulling the trigger? To be honest, he’s a bully.


Apparently, the... um... distinguished mayor was worried about tourism... yup, tourism! As Mr. Lee explains:


His whole thing was, the title is going to hurt tourism, the title is going to hurt economic development. But what tourism is he talking about? While we were shooting the film, you had the NFL draft here. Quarter million people in Grant Park. Can’t get a hotel room, can’t get a reservation. I mean, it’s packed. Then the Grateful Dead. Then Lollapalooza. So this part of the city is booming. But there are no bulletproof double-decker buses going through the Wild Hundreds [the gang-infested area from 100th to 130th Streets] or through Terror Town [a two-by-four-block patch of South Shore]. What economic development is going on in the South Side?


I certainly don't expect one movie to turn the tides in Chicago, or anywhere else. But it's a start. A good start. The first step to solving any problem is recognizing and acknowledging the problem. The REAL problem. And nine times out of ten, the rot starts at the top. But the longest journey begins with one step. Mr. Lee has taken the first step. I hope and pray others follow his lead. We'll see.




posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 09:56 AM
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originally posted by: Boadicea
‘Chi-Raq’ Star Angela Bassett on Chicago Gun Violence: ‘It’s Shameful’

For a long time, I've believed that moms are the only ones who really want to the stop the wanton violence we see in too many inner cities -- like Chicago...


I agree with everything but this. Growig up in a Philadelphia "hood" tells me that uneducated women are just as bad and some time worse than uneducated men when it comes to violence. For two reasons, The "hood culture" is celebrated by those who are uneducated and these hood women teach this culture to their kids. One could easily blame the father as well but what if both parents are capable of wrong doing and they go to court? Chance are even though they are both doing wrong, the female will get custody.

Sadly again, the world isn't black and white and maybe ive seen this scenario too many times.

I am glad to see people opening up about the hardships of people in Chicago, it's all to clear the government doesnt care and admittedly, I hate the "hood culture" so i have to press myself to care.



posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 10:32 AM
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originally posted by: Antipathy17


Boadicea: "For a long time, I've believed that moms are the only ones who really want to the stop the wanton violence we see in too many inner cities -- like Chicago..."

I agree with everything but this. Growig up in a Philadelphia "hood" tells me that uneducated women are just as bad and some time worse than uneducated men when it comes to violence. For two reasons, The "hood culture" is celebrated by those who are uneducated and these hood women teach this culture to their kids. One could easily blame the father as well but what if both parents are capable of wrong doing and they go to court? Chance are even though they are both doing wrong, the female will get custody.


Okay. Fair enough... plenty of people contribute to the problem one way or another. No argument there. But my comment was addressing those who are trying to fix the problem, not those creating the problem in one way or another.

As Spike Lee noted in the Chicago Magazine interview:


Father Pfleger introduced me to this organization called Purpose Over Pain. These are the mothers here who have lost their children to gun violence. They’re in the movie. And when you see these mothers—I’m not saying it’s not equally painful for fathers, but mothers, there’s just a hole in their soul that’ll never be replaced.



Sadly again, the world isn't black and white and maybe ive seen this scenario too many times.


And perhaps you haven't seen other scenarios enough. Why do you think that is? I'd say it's because that's the main scenario shoved in the public's faces again and again and again...


I am glad to see people opening up about the hardships of people in Chicago...


I'm not sure what you mean by that. As I said above, this scenario and its hardships are plastered all over the internet, including ATS... the problems are well covered. It's solutions that are sadly lacking.


...it's all to clear the government doesnt care...


I wish I believed it's that simple. They do care... deeply... they care about maintaining the status quo for themselves and all those hurt in the process be damned.


...and admittedly, I hate the "hood culture" so i have to press myself to care.


Someone somewhere will read this and rub their hands in glee and exclaim, "Mission accomplished!"



posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 11:11 AM
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originally posted by: Boadicea

originally posted by: Antipathy17


Boadicea: "For a long time, I've believed that moms are the only ones who really want to the stop the wanton violence we see in too many inner cities -- like Chicago..."

I agree with everything but this. Growig up in a Philadelphia "hood" tells me that uneducated women are just as bad and some time worse than uneducated men when it comes to violence. For two reasons, The "hood culture" is celebrated by those who are uneducated and these hood women teach this culture to their kids. One could easily blame the father as well but what if both parents are capable of wrong doing and they go to court? Chance are even though they are both doing wrong, the female will get custody.


Okay. Fair enough... plenty of people contribute to the problem one way or another. No argument there. But my comment was addressing those who are trying to fix the problem, not those creating the problem in one way or another.

As Spike Lee noted in the Chicago Magazine interview:


Father Pfleger introduced me to this organization called Purpose Over Pain. These are the mothers here who have lost their children to gun violence. They’re in the movie. And when you see these mothers—I’m not saying it’s not equally painful for fathers, but mothers, there’s just a hole in their soul that’ll never be replaced.



Sadly again, the world isn't black and white and maybe ive seen this scenario too many times.


And perhaps you haven't seen other scenarios enough. Why do you think that is? I'd say it's because that's the main scenario shoved in the public's faces again and again and again...


I am glad to see people opening up about the hardships of people in Chicago...


I'm not sure what you mean by that. As I said above, this scenario and its hardships are plastered all over the internet, including ATS... the problems are well covered. It's solutions that are sadly lacking.


...it's all to clear the government doesnt care...


I wish I believed it's that simple. They do care... deeply... they care about maintaining the status quo for themselves and all those hurt in the process be damned.


...and admittedly, I hate the "hood culture" so i have to press myself to care.


Someone somewhere will read this and rub their hands in glee and exclaim, "Mission accomplished!"


When most articles are posting about the crime and victim, Its good to see one posted without a specific crime, Is all I meant.

"Father Pfleger introduced me to this organization called Purpose Over Pain. These are the mothers here who have lost their children to gun violence. They’re in the movie. And when you see these mothers—I’m not saying it’s not equally painful for fathers, but mothers, there’s just a hole in their soul that’ll never be replaced."

He's not saying that it isn't equally as painful until after his comma, when he eludes to only women having a hole in their soul over the loss. Maybe not but why have something for only a mothers loss when everyone involved is losing out on someone. It just seems he's been very well indoctrinated into thinking women are victims.

edit on 30-11-2015 by Antipathy17 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 11:52 AM
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a reply to: Antipathy17


He's not saying that it isn't equally as painful until after his comma, when he eludes to only women having a hole in their soul over the loss. Maybe not but why have something for only a mothers loss when everyone involved is losing out on someone. It just seems he's been very well indoctrinated into thinking women are victims.


First, just to clarify and be fair, the website for Purpose Over Pain (the organization referred to), describes itself as being:


...formed in 2007 by several Chicago area parents who lost their children to gun violence.


(Bolding by me)

So we are addressing Mr. Lee's words/description here, not the organization itself. (Not saying you said anything different, just wanted to make that clear).

I don't know the membership of the organization as represented by parental designation. I don't know what Mr. Lee knows of its membership by parental designation. What I do know is that mothers are involved and active. Just like so many other organizations dedicated to ending the violence. That's what I have seen, apparently what Mr. Lee has seen, and what we are shown. I'd really and truly like to think -- nay, to KNOW! -- that fathers are active and involved as well. If you know of such organizations or efforts, please post them.

But I don't understand why you persist with the victim meme. Technically, yes, they are victims. They lost their child(ren). And they are using that experience to address the exact issues that caused their loss and hopefully ultimately end that cycle of violence. I'm sure they hate the "hood culture" too. Even more than you. And they are doing something about it because they do care. How is that a bad thing? These women and the organization are not excluding fathers. They are not blaming fathers. They are not trying to hurt fathers. If fathers aren't present and making their presence known, how is that the fault of the mothers?

ETA: I have to tell you how ironic I find it that here on ATS, where everyone has an opinion about the issue (many more hateful than others), someone with the moniker "Antipathy" is the only one to express an opinion! And I thank you for that. I truly appreciate your responses

edit on 30-11-2015 by Boadicea because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2015 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: Boadicea

You are right, I did focus on the victim-hood. I shouldn't have. She is making a good point to push for reform and I hope it works. I guess I wanted to chat because people tend to let their opinions dictate their actions. I just hope this isn't another over reaching "justice for women" campaign (which it seems very much it's not). The community is suffering on all fronts but I can't help but feel the men and PARENTS in this community need some heavy working on. My opinion influenced me.


As far as Antipathy. I have the word tattooed on my bicep. I don't want make or continue to make mistakes and feel antipathy toward myself. It's a symbol to me to always thrive to make the best decisions or correct mistakes.




Also, I'd like to admit that when I came back to the thread to read the reply I had confused myself into thinking she was starting something like a focus group for just women who she may have felt are the primary victim.... I was greatly mistaken.
edit on 30-11-2015 by Antipathy17 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2015 @ 06:33 AM
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originally posted by: Antipathy17
a reply to: Boadicea

You are right, I did focus on the victim-hood. I shouldn't have. She is making a good point to push for reform and I hope it works. I guess I wanted to chat because people tend to let their opinions dictate their actions. I just hope this isn't another over reaching "justice for women" campaign (which it seems very much it's not). The community is suffering on all fronts but I can't help but feel the men and PARENTS in this community need some heavy working on. My opinion influenced me.


Yes, I think these people need some help. I know many people want to help and try to help, but with limited success. The ones who make the most noise and get the most publicity are usually just using their plight for their own agenda... it becomes a political football. Which is also why it's so easy to suspect the worst about any groups that do pop up. Some people prefer the problem to solutions. I've heard Spike Lee has even gotten threats over this movie.


As far as Antipathy. I have the word tattooed on my bicep. I don't want make or continue to make mistakes and feel antipathy toward myself. It's a symbol to me to always thrive to make the best decisions or correct mistakes.


Good for you! I have much respect and admiration for self-aware persons. I try, but also fail miserably at times



Also, I'd like to admit that when I came back to the thread to read the reply I had confused myself into thinking she was starting something like a focus group for just women who she may have felt are the primary victim.... I was greatly mistaken.


I'm glad you gave it another look. Too many people do exploit tragedies for less than noble reasons, so it's good to see people trying to do the right thing for the right reason.




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