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Five Things to Know About the Trailer for Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq

Early footage appears to confirm a few things you already heard—and some you may not have.

Teyonah Parris in Chi-Raq   Photo: Parrish Lewis/Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios

After months of incessant wondering, the trailer for Spike Lee’s forthcoming Chi-Raq hit the Internet early Tuesday afternoon.  If you’re fond of judging movies based solely on their trailers, here’s what early footage appears to confirm. 

1. Yep, it’s about a sex strike

The movie does indeed seem to be based on the Greek comedy Lysistrata in which women withheld sex from their partners in order to end the Peloponnesian War. In this version, Teyonah Parris (Dear White People) plays the titular Lysistrata. She appears to be dating a rapper and gang leader (played by Nick Cannon) whose name, according to iMDB, is Chi-Raq. He’s part of the Athenians gang and his rivals are the Trojans. Lysistrata seems to spearhead the aformentioned sex strike, judging from a scene in the trailer where she leads a group of women in the chant: “I will deny all rights of access and entrance.”

2. It’s star-studded

Samuel Jackson Jr. narrates the whole proceedings (something he famously did as the DJ in Do the Right Thing). Evanston native John Cusack plays a socially progressive Catholic priest (allegedly modeled after Father Pfleger). Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, La La Anthony, and Jennifer Hudson all have supporting roles. Oh, and Dave Chappelle cameos.

3. At least three local musicians will act in the movie. 

Hyde Park rapper Sasha Go Hard and R&B singer Eryn Allen Kane appear in the trailer (both Kane and Sasha confirmed their roles on Twitter) and the latter is credited as Tee-Tee on iMDB. And if you stop at 0:27, you’ll see Hyde Park native and Roc Nation rapper Vic Mensa dancing behind Nick Cannon. A “Victor Mensah" is credited on iMDB as T-Money, so there’s a good chance he might be acting in the film, too. 

4. There will be rhyme.

Spike Lee hinted at some verse in his in-depth Q&A with Chicago, and the trailer confirms it: "The situation’s out of control, because I’m in front of an empty stripper pole!” Chappelle screams. 

5. It’s extremely divisive.

Chicagoans have a lot of strong opinions about this movie based on the trailer, and so far, they seem to be mainly negative.   

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