“Using a sex strike as a way to end the violence in Chicago?? How can Spike Lee make such a mockery of the issue in our city?!” This sentiment has reverberated through the proverbial halls of social media over and over since Spike released the trailer for his latest project, Chi-Raq (coming December 4). For those born and raised in Chicago (like myself), the issues of violence and mayhem that have stricken the city are no laughing matter.
The constant lives lost on a daily basis seem like an urban genocide at the hands of street soldiers upholding an antiquated cred set by gang leaders decades ago. It’s rough in the streets of Chi-Town, and for those who’ve lost family and friends to street violence, a satire riffing on the classic Greek comedy Lysistrata centering on Chicago crime doesn’t set well. What’s worse, many natives of the city are appalled at the idea of using sexuality as a way to remedy these gang wars.
But then I began to think: why couldn’t a sex strike work? Why are so many people up in arms about women taking matters into their own hands, banding together in mind, body and spirit, and creating change? It’s certainly more than what city officials and the federal government have proposed lately. Spike Lee in no way intends to offend Chicago or make light of the egregious situation at hand. He just may be onto something using the Greek comedy as a way to get people to wake up.
After reading countless status updates and articles on the subject, I figured why not speak to another Chicago native who’s been affected by the violence directly but is also close to Chi-Raq? I got on the phone and called my good friend, actor and comedian Jay Washington—who happens to play Besomighty, the first lieutenant to gang leader Cyclops (portrayed by the G.O.A.T. Wesley Snipes). He spoke with me for Playboy Radio about his role in the film, his opinions on how Chicago can begin to make a change, and how women being aware of their pu**y power just may help.
Can sex striking really work to end wars?
“R. Kelly and Jay Z made a song years ago called ‘The Power of the Pu**y,’ and it is the absolute truth,” Jay said with conviction. “Many countries in various areas of the world still use sex strikes ’til this day, and it works.”
The Igbo people of Nigeria have a history of using sex strikes as a means to correct the behavior of men. In pre-colonial times, the women would make the collective decision to strike when they saw fit. They’d go so far as to leave town en masse with their babies at their breasts and nothing more. The biggest fear of the men was for the council to take action.
In modern days, it may seem frivolous to use a sex strike to end a gang war, but Washington doesn’t see this as completely far-fetched. “Spike Lee is in no way making light of the situation at hand,” he says. “Using Lysistrata as the backdrop against Chicago’s violence issue only gives us one angle of how this thing can be remedied. Women use sex all the time to get what they want, so why couldn't this work?”
And I agree. Women are the backbone of any community, and if women were to band together and demand their men to behave in ways that are just and civil or face consequences, I believe we’d see a difference. It first begins with women knowing the power of what’s between their legs however. And in the Black community, we still have some ways to go in embracing and accepting sexuality as not only a way to create children or release tension, but also to connect the human spirit and evoke change when sex is used with intention.
“There is a big difference between a woman that is sleeping around and a woman that is sleeping with a purpose,” says Washington. “Women have been using sex to get what they want for centuries, and it won’t change. As a man, I see nothing wrong with a woman using her sexuality with a purpose if she is completely comfortable with herself after it’s all said and done.”
Catch Chi-Raq (starring Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and more) in select theaters December 4 and on Amazon Prime.
What do you think? Could a sex strike work to correct the behaviors of men in Western culture?
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.