Jennifer Hudson joined Spike Lee and the cast of "Chiraq" at St. Sabina Church Friday evening for a peace rally protesting gun violence.
"I'm a Chicagoan, and I'm here with my Chicagoans, right? And we're all here for peace," said Hudson, who is rumored to be a part of the cast.
The event featured choir and spoken word performances, a prayer by Fr. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina, a reading of the names of all those 21 and younger who were killed by gun violence this year and a call to peace by several gang members.
"Chicago's peace is our Selma. Brothers and sisters, it is time to cross the bridge," actor John Cusack said in front of the crowd for a scene in the upcoming film.
The event was organized by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. The organization's traveling art installation "Unforgotten," featuring memorialized statues of victims of gun violence, will also be present at the event.
Pfleger and his parish have been involved with the film since it was first announced, with Pfleger helping to get the word out about casting calls and recently hosting a "Chiraq" block party in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
Director Spike Lee, who has proved elusive in revealing the exact plot or genre of the film, said the movie will be about "black-on-black violence." Filming in Chicago for "Chiraq" began in May and is expected to continue through July 10.
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Some city officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Will Burns (4th Ward) and Ald. David Moore (17th Ward), have expressed their disappointment in the film's title, which evokes a comparison between violence in Chicago and the war in Iraq. They claimed the title portrayed the Englewood neighborhood negatively and unfairly.
In May, Ald. Burns asked City Council to push the state to deny Lee a $3 million tax break for filming in Chicago, but he was unsuccessful. Recently, Ald. Moore denied Pfleger the permit to hold the "Chiraq" block party in his ward, but he later reversed the decision.