January 19, 2018 / 6:19 PM

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Spike Lee Calls Chance The Rapper "A Fraud" For 'Chi-Raq' Criticism

Spike Lee’s film Chi-Raq has been highly criticized. Rappers who hail from the Windy City, including Chance The Rapper, have been particularly vocal about their disapproval for the film. Lee recently spoke out about his critics and called the “Sunday Candy” rhymer a fraud.

During a talk at Northwestern University on March 2, the two-time Academy Award nominee presented students with a screening of the 2015 release and hosted a Q&A session immediately after. He spoke on a number of topics, including his decision to show the movie at Northwestern as opposed to a historically Black college or university, and took the opportunity to share a few choice words for Chance. Lee also reportedly noted that Chance’s father is the deputy chief of staff and director for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office of public engagement.

"Chance the Rapper’s a fraud. Straight-up fraud," Lee said. "He puts himself up as a speaker of the people, but that means you have to put truths that you see. That doesn’t mean you can pick and choose what you talk about."

During a December interview, Chance said that Lee exploited Chicago for his own gain.

"He got his little $15 million from Amazon and his other little bread from Lionsgate and made a movie that was not about Chicago but manipulated and used Chicago actors and Chicago scenery to push this movie," the rapper said at the time. “It was an oversimplification of a bigger problem. He wasn't really focusing on the issues of Chicago, it wasn't really about Chicago. To me, it was about this age-old conversation of Black-on-Black violence, which is to me some Bill Cosby ‘pull up your pants’ stuff. I’m just not for it.”

The film is an adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata set in inner-city Chicago. Chi-Raq stars Teyonah Parris as a woman who protests black-on-black gun violence by going on a sex strike. The Illinois city is sometimes referred to as "Chi-Raq" because of its high crime rates, which have been compared to those of war zones in Iraq.

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