Spike Lee Reacts to Obama's Gun Control Speech: It's "a Fight for the Soul of the Country"

Spike Lee and Nick Cannon - H 2016
Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios

Hours after President Obama's teary speech at the White House where he announced new executive actions concerning America's gun laws, filmmaker Spike Lee hosted a screening of his film Chi-Raq at ICM Partners in Century City.

The film — an Amazon Studios project released in theaters through a partnership between Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate — is inspired by the Greek comedy Lysistrata and tackles issues of gun violence that have plagued the city of Chicago. When asked for his reaction to Obama's speech, the filmmaker responded with "bravo."

"You know, all these people that are against him and what he’s trying to do with common sense gun laws, they are going to be on the wrong side of history. I believe that," Lee told THR. "Right now, it’s really a fight for the soul of the country. Ninety Americans die every day due to gun violence. That’s obscene and it’s shameful and I can use a lot of other words too. I commend our president for (speaking out)."

Lee was joined at the event and post-screening reception — billed as Pray 4 My City — by the film's star Nick Cannon, Amazon's Bob Berney and Roadside chief Howard Cohen. Cannon delivered the opening remarks before the screening, calling Lee a "genius."

"Spike is an amazing conductor of noise. A town crier, he gets people to pay attention and he delivers it in an artistic way," said Cannon, who even mentioned critics who questioned how a former Nickelodeon star could play a thug caught up in the world of gang violence in gritty Chicago. "You don’t necessarily have to agree with him but the fact that we’re having that discussion — that’s what art is all about."

Roadside Attractions' Howard Cohen and Amazon Studios' head of marketing and distribution Bob Berney attend a screening of Spike Lee 'Chi-Raq' at ICM Partners in Century City on Jan. 5, 2016. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions / Amazon Studios)