Tag: “Chi-Raq”

NBA Lends Its Name and Its Stars to Campaign Against Gun Violence

An image of the Warriors’ Stephen Curry from an ad that is the result of a partnership between the N.B.A. and the organization Everytown for Gun Safety. (photo via nytimes.com)

The National Basketball Association, alarmed by the death toll from shootings across the country, is stepping into the polarizing debate over guns, regulation and the Second Amendment with an advertising campaign in partnership with one of the nation’s most aggressive advocates of stricter limits on firearm sales.

The first ads, timed to reach millions of basketball fans during a series of marquee games on Christmas Day, focus on shooting victims and contain no policy recommendations. The words “gun control” are never mentioned.

Besides N.B.A. players, the ads feature survivors of shootings and relatives of those killed by guns. (photo via nytimes.com)

The N.B.A.’s involvement suggests that a bloody year of gun deaths — in highly publicized mass shootings and countless smaller-scale incidents — may be spurring even some generally risk-averse, mainstream institutions to action.

Players who appear in the first 30-second ad, which will run five times on Friday, speak in personal terms about the effects of gun violence on their lives. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors describes hearing of a 3-year-old’s shooting: “My daughter Riley’s that age,” he says. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers recalls the advice he heeded as a child: “My parents used to say, ‘A bullet doesn’t have a name on it.’”

The N.B.A. said it held little internal debate about working with Mr. Bloomberg’s group. “We know far too many people who have been caught up in gun violence in this country,” said Kathleen Behrens, the league’s president of social responsibility and player programs. “And we can do something about it.”

But the decision may prove tricky for the league: While many of its teams are based in cities dominated by Democrats, a number of other teams — and millions of N.B.A. fans — hail from places where Mr. Bloomberg and his approach to guns are viewed with deep suspicion. Ms. Behrens said the league had not shown the ads to team owners, but added, “We’re not worried about any political implications.”

The Bloomberg-N.B.A. partnership was brokered by an unlikely figure: Spike Lee, a member of Everytown’s creative council, whose latest film, “Chi-Raq,” set on Chicago’s South Side, confronts gun violence with an unflinching eye.

Over breakfast at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan in November, not long before the movie was released earlier this month, Mr. Lee proposed the idea for the ads to John Skipper, the president of ESPN, who then took it to Adam Silver, the N.B.A.’s commissioner. Mr. Lee insisted on the participation of Everytown, with which he collaborated on a protest march down Broadway after the film’s New York premiere.

In an interview, he sounded many of the themes that Mr. Bloomberg himself has emphasized in the past, saying it was time for “common sense anti-gun laws.”

“But because of the N.R.A., politicians and the gun manufacturers, we’re dying under that tyranny,” Mr. Lee said.

Mr. Bloomberg’s interventionist policies as mayor and his left-leaning tactics on guns have earned the vitriol of gun-rights advocates, who have mocked him with TV ads as an out-of-touch elitist.

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Spike Lee Leads Gun Violence Protest After “Chi-Raq” Premiere

chi raq premiere gun violence protest
Rev. Al Sharpton and Spike Lee (STEPHEN LOVEKIN/VARIETY/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

The fact that Chicago’s police superintendent was fired hours before the premiere of Spike Lee’s latest feature, “Chi-Raq,” only reinforced the timeliness of the movie’s message about the senselessness of gun violence and racial discrimination. And instead of an after-party, Lee led many attendees out of Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater on a march down Broadway to Times Square.

The movie, the first feature produced by Amazon Studios, is a loose adaptation of the ancient Greek drama “Lysistrata.” In Lee’s telling, a group of determined women in Chicago band together to demand that their husbands and lovers put down their weapons, or lose their intimate privileges.

“It was great in 411 B.C. — it’ll work today,” Lee said of the source material Tuesday night. “This film is about changing lives.”

Chicago is among the big U.S. cities that is suffering through a spike in violence and homicides, particularly among African-Americans. Protests have rocked the city in the past few days following the release of a video showing the police shooting a 17-year-old black teenager some 16 times last year. Lee said he hoped “Chi-Raq” would help inspire others to “work harder to make America safer.”

Kevin Willmott, who co-wrote the script with Lee, said the events of the day made for a “surreal” experience at the premiere. The movie was shot in Chicago last summer over a six-week period, which allowed cast members to see first-hand the issues depicted in the story. Chicago is the “epicenter” of violence at present but these issues are hardly isolated to one city, Willmott said. “It’s an American problem,” he noted. “It’s about guns, it’s about race, it’s about jobs. There’s nothing new about the problem.”

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Amazon Studios Acquiring Spike Lee Film “Chi-Raq” as Its 1st Release

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon Studios says it has acquired Spike Lee‘s new film as its first Amazon Original Movie.

The film, with the working title “Chi-Raq,” features a cast including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and Teyonah Parris, as well as D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris and Angela Bassett, plus John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.

“Chi-Raq” was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week. Directed by Lee, it was co-written by Lee and Kevin Willmott. It focuses on violence in inner-city Chicago.

Amazon Studios’ Ted Hope said, “It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker” than Lee to launch the studio with.

Amazon Original Movies, announced in January, was formed to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release as well as distribution to its Amazon Prime members.

article via blackamericaweb.com