Spike Lee’s upcoming release of Chi-Raq has been a very polarizing issue in the Black community. One one side, you have folks who are happy to see Spike focusing on the rampant gun violence and bringing it to the masses. On the other, a lot of folks are opposed to the film, feeling that it trivializes the situation and fails to address the real issues plaguing Chicago’s Black community. Either way, nobody’s seen it yet, and we’ve yet to see what the legendary director has in mind. However, the premise of the film, a crew of women with the plan to withhold sex from their gun toting male counterparts (gleaned from the Greek comedy Lysistrata) has sparked the imagination of a Southside woman.
April Lawson, a resident and activist in the Auburn/Gresham neighborhood where Tyshawn Lee was murdered, plans to make Spike Lee’s satirical vision a reality by suggesting a sex strike. She has started an online campaign, urging the women of Chicago to withhold the yams until the violence stops. Her message to women on the Change.org page reads:
A 9-year-old boy and a 20-year-old woman were gunned down two hours apart in separate homicides in Chicago recently. The 4th grader was shot execution style and the woman was an aspiring model visiting from nearby Evanston.
This spasm of violence on Chicago’s South Side plays out as the latest tragic day in a year that has seen murders on the rise. Tyshawn Lee dreamed of playing pro basketball and Kaylyn Pryor had just started her promising career as a fashion model, friends and family said the day after their deaths.
Still the men in the neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham and Englewood remain apathetic. All men in this city need to come out of the shadows of impotence and start protecting their women and babies. It’s time for a sex strike, girls.
I want to preface this by saying I’m not usually in favor of using sex as a weapon in relationships. Communication to me is paramount and I’d sooner opt for talking it over. But drastic times call for drastic measures.
In a patriarchal society, a problem will not be addressed until it directly affects men. Abstinence has been used as a means of nonviolent protesting throughout history. Sex strikes are forms of resistance often used to meet political, social or economic goals. Even Spike Lee’s new film Chi-Raq is nothing more than a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence. So I got to thinking, why shouldn’t life imitate art? Maybe these ladies are on to something.
We share this planet equally. I’m interested in making the world a safer place for all little girls and boys. I want to nurture and guide them to become thought leaders who accumulate great wealth and build legacies that endure. But I can’t do any of that when the life expectancy on the south side ends by the fourth grade.
In the meantime, I’m taking some extreme punitive social measures. There should be severe consequences for your apathy. How long will you turn your backs on us? Where’s your accountability?
Will this abstinence campaign gain traction? Like Chi-Raq, only time will tell. Check out the full campaign here.