People can’t stop talking about Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq — an upcoming satirical movie that, according to Lee, reflects the harsh reality of the crime in Chicago.
The trailer was released on Tuesday afternoon and the criticism immediately started over the film’s light and humorous take on the city’s widespread gang violence.
And while the controversy over Chi-Raq is understandable, it’s mostly unnecessary, primarily because it’s overshadowing a real-life shooting in Chicago that deserves far more attention and outrage from the masses.
Only a day before the movie’s trailer went online, a 9-year-old boy named Tyshawn Lee was shot dead in Chicago. He was reportedly “lured into an alley” and shot “multiple times” as he was walking from school to his grandmother’s house.
Initially, the police thought he was caught in crossfire, however, they later found out that Tyshawn was targeted because of his father’s alleged gang ties.
Although similar crimes in Chicago are not uncommon, the child’s killing is a grim reminder of unchecked gang violence spiraling out of control in the city and how innocent children are often the ones who pay the price with their lives.
In March 2012, 6-year-old Aliyah Shell was fatally shot in a hail of gunfire by two street gang members. Last September, four gang members in Chicago's South Side gunned down a 9-year-old boy because they thought he was trying to warn a rival group about their whereabouts.
Just this year, a 7-year-old named Amari Brown was murdered over the Fourth of July weekend by a man who intended to kill the boy’s father Antonio Brown.
Even though it’s not common for gangsters to target children, the number of such fatalities could increase with the recent uptick in gang violence in Chicago.
As of Wednesday, there were 421 homicides in the city this year, compared with 435 in all of last year, according to the Chicago Tribune. Moreover, the total number of shootings this year — 2,587 — has already caught up with the total for all of 2014.
Unfortunately, these stats — including Tyshawn’s death — have not been able to set off the kind of backlash or concern Spike Lee’s 2-minute trailer managed to prompt.
How many more children have to die before that happens?