St. Sabina block party continues despite 'Chiraq' objections

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Director Spike Lee's use of the name "Chiraq" to describe Chicago in a movie he's shooting in the city is getting a lot of attention at a block party, which began after the ward's alderman dropped his objections.

It was an afternoon of fun and games for 10-year-old Rosemary Bowman at St. Sabina block party.

"I'm having fun jumping rope and the bouncy house, playing," she said.

The festivities almost didn't happen. Earlier this week 17th Ward Alderman David Moore said he wouldn't sign a permit for the neighborhood event hosted by the church because St. Sabina's pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, collaborated with Lee on a movie that has the working title of "Chiraq," which is slang comparing the violence in some black neighborhoods with that in war-torn Iraq.

"Let's get over the movie name," Fr. Pfleger said. "When I hear somebody talking about, 'Well, he needs to say what the movie's about so we understand,' tell me one director that tells what the movie's about before the movie comes out."

Alderman Moore says he changed his mind after talking to area residents like Ronnie Skinner.

"To me it's positive because it's here in our community," Skinner said. "We're here, we want it, and we thank him for coming over here. People are going to benefit for him being here."

While Lee, who was in attendance Saturday, declined to talk about his movie, co-writer Kevin Wilmont says the film's script is uses an ancient Greek comedy to address a serious issue.

"The Greeks have figured out a long time ago and that was all about peace," Wilmont said.

For Logan Square resident Dorian Daniels, the block party isn't just a way to spend a Saturday, but a way to change perceptions about the city's South Side.

"It changes it a lot. There's nothing wrong with it, there's no negativity, everyone's been real friendly and nice," Daniels said.

Ald. Moore said he does not necessarily object to the movie, but said he does not want certain communities branded to keep people from really knowing the real residents of the South Side.

Those who support the film and the title say residents to wait until the movie comes out before forming a judgement or opinion about it.

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