U2 singer Bono has been caught up in controversy surrounding a film being shot in Chicago against the backdrop of the city’s unrelenting gun violence.
The picture was taken by director Spike Lee, and posted on his Instagram page after one of U2’s five gigs in the city last week.
It shows the pair posing with baseball hats emblazoned with the name of Lee’s movie, Chiraq — currently being filmed in some of the city’s most dangerous neighbourhoods.
The film, particularly the name, has already proved hugely divisive with some activists, local representatives, and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel decrying the comparison between the city and war-ravaged Iraq.
One alderman, the representative for the area where much of the film is being filmed, went as far as to refuse to allow a block party to be held because it had been sponsored by Lee and others involved with Chiraq.
The film stars rapper Common, John Cusack, and Jennifer Hudson, all natives of Illinois.
The alderman, David Moore, eventually relented and issued a permit for the party but he remains opposed to the film’s name, claiming it will link forever, and internationally, certain communities in Chicago to Iraq.
Other community activists fully support Lee, his movie, and the name.
While Moore did not return a call for a comment on Bono appearing to promote the film, a close aide said that was exactly what the alderman was worried about — the international branding of the city’s most deprived areas being like Iraq.
“I know if Bono understood the issues intimately he would not have posed for the picture,” the aide claimed.
Chicago has the highest number of murders of any US city, with 225 people killed so far this year.
Ten people were shot dead, including a seven-year-old boy, and 55 wounded over the July 4 holiday weekend.
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