Umi Selah, human rights activist and founder of the Dream Defenders, attended a screening of Spike Lee’s film Chi-raq and the two men engaged in a tense exchange during which Selah refused to bow to Lee’s insistence that a film about so-called “self-inflicted genocide” and “Black-on-Black crime” will save lives.
“As a fan of your work, your entire body of work…I’m frankly angry and confused,” Selah began.
Lee asked him why and Selah didn’t hold back.
“You’re creating a film here that places the entirety of the blame and the situation and the plight that’s going on in Chicago on the people of Chicago.”
Lee continued to deflect from Selah’s point and his defensiveness became clear with him saying, once again, that he was going to “save lives” with this film.
Selah was ready for that one.
“How many lives you gon’ save without creating jobs for those people in Chicago? You not telling nobody the truth about what’s going on in Chicago and around this country…there is an experiment that if you put mice on top of each other, they’re going to steal, kill and destroy each other, brother. So if you put a bunch of people in projects all over this country, what you think they gon’ do?”