FIGHTING, FUCKING AND SCREWING: AN ANALYSIS OF SEX SCENES IN SPIKE LEE’S CHIRAQ

By Austin and Amira

Throughout Spike Lee’s 2015 film Chiraq, the depiction of sex is perpetually tied to the language of violence. For the purpose of this blog post, we will analyze the conflation of sex and violence in each of the film’s five sex scenes.

Scene One:

The first sex scene focuses on a literal pistol. Lysistrata asks for Chi-raq to put his pistol away so that they can have sex. After Chi-Raq puts the pistol under the bed they both speak of his penis as if it’s a gun. His penis is a metaphorical pistol. While his pistol can reaffirm his manhood outside of the bedroom his penis does so within. Both are a source of power in their respective spaces. The bedroom is a distinct space from that of the street or the previous scene’s concert venue.This scene’s yellow tone is striking compared to the purple tones present when the Trojans are around.This contrast in color detaches Lysistrata’s time with Chi-raq from his time with his purple-repping gang.Power struggles in the streets are fought out with weapons. Chi-raq’s power struggles with Lysistrata are found out with weaponized sexuality. scene1.giftumblr_o14c183gXo1s6953fo1_400

Scene Two:

In this scene, the war cannon serves as a weaponized phallic symbol. Much like the pistol in the scene before, this weapon has the capability to inflict great harm yet is the source of much sexual innuendo. The General mounts the canon with hopes of sexualy enticing Lysistrata. His desire for her is racist and attached to her position as a naive black girl. Here, Lee shows how both racism and violence can impact sexuality. Lee frames sex as a potential expression of racist power structures. whiskey.gif

Scene Three:

Violent language is particularly salient in the third sex scene, which features Chiraq and Kandy. The third sex scene stands in stark contrast to the first sex scene, which is much more intimate and personal. In this particular scene, the viewer enters the purple-hued room from a wide-angle view to zoom in on a close-up shot of Chiraq “killing that pussy.” The imagery and language in this scene are especially violent, as the gifs and screencaps below demonstrate.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 9.58.06 PM.png

Scene Four:

What makes the third sex scene particularly important (and disturbing) is the way that it connects Chiraq’s conflation of sex and violence with his mother’s experience of sexual violence. The third sex scene transitions into the fourth sex scene when the viewer follows young Chiraq into his mother’s bedroom to see her having sex with her pimp, Blue Monday. In this recollection, the viewer cuts from Chiraq shouting “I’m a killer– killing that pussy” to his mother yelling “Kill me! Kill this pussy! Kill this pussy!” killthispussymakinglove

Scene Five:

In the 5th sex scene Lysistrata and Chiraq literally battle in the form of a sexual duel. In place of fighting they both attempt to tempt each other sexually. Instead of engaging in a more traditional form of combat, they weaponize their sexuality against each other. Sex becomes the ultimate power struggle. Lee frames sexuality as a powerful force that can be used to persuade and defeat others. peace.giftumblr_nx9lc7sFev1s3y9slo4_500.gif

Conclusion:

Most Chiraq viewers would agree that the two major themes of the film are violence and sex. However, up to this point, there has been very little discussion of the way violence permeates each of the movie’s sex scenes. We, ourselves, didn’t think about how explicitly violent the language in the sex scenes was until we went back and watched each scene back to back. This idea leaves us with a few questions about what Lee is arguing about sex. Perhaps he is asking us to think about where we learn about sex? Is this another toxic intergenerational cycle that Lee is asking us to end? Why aren’t we, as viewers, phased by the violence in the language that describes sex in this movie? Lee might argue that our greatest source of information on sex is media and that media– particularly rap music– highly intertwines sex and violence. This conflation of sex and violence is highly visible in popular media. We’ve attached a number of popular songs and we encourage you to reflect upon these songs in light of Lee’s film.

My tongue is a uzi, my dick is a AK”

Wowzers– Lil Wayne

“I’ma knock the pussy out like fight night”

 Fight Night– Migos

I beat it beat it up”

 Up! – Leverance

2 comments

  1. I was also interested in this aspect of the movie and really didn’t like how it was portrayed. But my other question is about how he perpetuates the sexually agressive stereotype of black men by making it seem like it is the most important thing to them. The only way the women can fight back is by not having sex with their men and it’s ridiculous! Also why aren’t there any gay characters????

  2. Oh man, even as a hardcore Wayne fan “Wowzers” makes me want to puke.

    But back to the post, this is some seriously well-thought analysis. Given the prevalence of the coupling of sex and violence in negotiating one’s manhood in so much media, your post could actually make a great justification for Lee’s portrayal of a satirical sex strike juxtaposed with the reality of gun violence–as tasteless as everyone seems to find it, your post really pulls out a lot of the questions of manhood that the film successfully interrogates. That being said, your post also got me to reconsider the juxtaposition of the final two scenes: when Chiraq finally has sex with Lysistrata again, before immediately admitting to the murder of the little girl. I still find it pretty bizarre and kind of disgusting, but your post’s exploration of the ties between sex and violence make the transition between those scenes make a bit more sense–reapproaching and coming to terms with the former seems to provoke him to do so with the latter, perhaps.

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