Tag Archives Chicago

Lena Waithe’s ‘The Chi’ Has Been Renewed For A Second Season

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Lena Waithe’s The Chi has been renewed for Season 2 on Showtime! This decision was made after the show ranked as the best new series for the network since Billions. Viewership has increased by 41 percent! Now that’s what you call #blackgirlmagic, sprinkling all over your network.

“From viewers and critics alike, the response to The Chi has been so enthusiastic from the very start that our decision to renew the series was an easy one. We love the vibrant characters and the nuanced world that Lena has created. Her vision for The Chi has clearly struck a chord, and we know she has much more moving, personal and resonant stories to tell about her beloved hometown,” said Showtime Networks programming president Gary Levine.

The show is created and executively produced by Waithe who is also the first African American woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing. The show is also executively produced by rapper and activist Common, Elwood Reid and Aaron Kaplan. The show is directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

The series “explores the humanity behind the headlines sensationalizing the South Side of Chicago.”  It stars Jason Mitchell (Detroit, Mudbound), Jacob Latimore (Detroit, Sleight), Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (Queen of Katwe), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight), Yolonda Ross (The Get Down), Armando Riesco (Bull) and Tiffany Boone (The Following). Sonja Sohn, Jahking Guillory (Kicks), and Steven Williams recur.

If you haven’t checked out The Chi, be sure to catch up before season 2! Congrats Lena!

At 16 Years Old, Sydni Dion Bennett Becomes First Black Miss Illinois Teen USA

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There is no age requirement on excellence. Sydni Dion Bennett recently crowned Miss Illinois Teen USA in the pageants 34 year history. Bennett, who attends a performing arts school in Chicago has accomplished many feats and at 16 her future beams.

The Chicago Tribune reports that before the pageant began Bennett was unaware that a black girl had never received this title.  Bennett and the few other black girls competing learned this information the weekend of competition.

“I found out the night before the final show, actually. It made me want to fight harder and to win for all the black girls around, not just for myself,” says Bennett. She continues “I didn’t feel less about my ability to win because no black girl had done it; it put a drive in me rather than a doubt.”

Pageantry has made strides towards diversity yet a majority of winners and competitors are white.  The small amount of black girls who compete often find friendship and sisterhood behind the scenes of the extravagant pageants.

“There were very few black girls competing,” said Bennett. “We were all close friends and talked about how it had to be the year for one of us to take it. No matter who, we wanted one of us to win.”

The Miss Illinois Teen USA pageant was Bennett’s second time competing. She placed second runner up in her first competition, the 2016 Miss Illinois Teen USA pageant.  Her growth in pageantry has been remarkable.

“We are so proud to have her as a winner this year,” says Daryl Schabinger,  press relations manager for the Miss Teen Illinois USA.

Next up, Bennett will compete for the national title, Miss Teen USA. Although the national pageant comes with a higher level of seriousness, Bennett believes she can bring home the crown.

“ We have a book list. I have to take the citizenship test, watch the news to stay up on everything. It’s not just walk in and compete. It’s serious now. It’s a lot, but I can handle it.”  says Bennett.


Dream Big, Give Big Serves the Youth in Chicago for Back-To-School

When it comes to Chicago may want to highlight all of the negative numbers that plague the city’s representation as of late but not the events that go on the in the city to promote the promise of tomorrow. One of such events was Dream Big, Give Big held on the westside, which was hosted by Timberland and Dream Town.

Dream Town has served the Chicago community with the hottest in fashion from streetwear to sneakers for decades and Timberland is a staple to the city as a go-to outfitter for attire in the brutal winters. Together, they gave back to the community hosting families from across the city in a back-to-school event that brought together the essentials of music, food, and fun.

Dream Big, Give Big did exactly what the title suggests. During the course of the event, there was a panel bringing in creatives from the Chicago community to speak on their experiences and inspire those to further their education and not have any fear into reaching for their dreams. On hand for the panel providing information to participants were GLC, singer-songwriter Kaye Fox, Gabe, host of B96 radio, Alan Brothers of the Remix Project and Brandon Breaux who has created artwork for Chance the Rapper, Drake and more.

Giveaways for the day included vegan food prepared by Via Rose to promote alternative eating and healthy lifestyles, free haircuts to make sure students had a proper cut for class, and more fun with face painting and a balloon animal station. There was also the opportunity to win customized editions of Timberlands in a raffle from artists like Van of Black Ink Crew Chicago, Jas Peterson and more.

Guests also received the opportunity to win new Timberlands from their fall line, bookbags with cool supplies and more. The Timberlands that were a part of giveaways and on sale at the location and across the country are from their Flyroam Collection, a perfect addition to your closet for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

The raffle benefits Association House of Chicago and their efforts to provide services throughout the Chicago community. Since 1899, Association House has worked with Chicagoans who seek tools to lead more productive lives. It is one of the oldest “settlement houses” in Chicago originally designed to provide relief and guidance to new immigrants. Today, Association House is a vital resource to under-served, multicultural communities, providing collaborative programs in English and Spanish.

Dream town aims to create more opportunities in the future for children in the community they reside and hope to provide positive outreach to the city in the future.

Chance The Rapper’s Non-Profit Organization SocialWorks Teams Up With Landr For Audio Mastering Youth Summer Program

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Chance The Rapper and his team continue to do positive things for the kids.

The Chicago-based charitable organize, SocialWorks and the Montreal-based audio production company Landr team up to help the youth develop their music producing skills this summer.

How dope is that?

The program will be a part of Kids of the Kingdom, a long-running Chicago program that was founded at Emerald Avenue Church in 1977 by Sister Gladys Bennett. Kids Of the Kingdoms goal is to provide an outlet for recreation, socialization, and expression for Chicago youth throughout the summer with interactive events, field trips, and dynamic lesson plans. SocialWorks will utilize Landr as part of the Kids of the Kingdom Summer Music Academy sessions, which will be made up of 75 Chicago-area kids.

The camp isn’t where the partnership stops either, between June 6-20 Landr will also donate $1 to SocialWorks for every new user who masters a track with its software in addition to donating 10 percent of all purchases to the organization.


“The pursuit of creating art is a universally honest and necessary expression of our hopes, dreams, and emotions— art is rooted in our innate sense of curiosity, none more so than from the infinite imagination of our youth. However, these journeys of personal expression are never just black and white, and not every voice gets heard. That’s why SocialWorks and LANDR are launching a summer program to provide students in Chicago the necessary tools to tell their stories to the world. Together, we’ll shape the musicians of tomorrow, by supporting the kids today.” – Chance The Rapper

Thank you Chance The Rapper, SocialWorks, Landr, and Kids of the Kingdom for your inspiring work!

Dwyane Wade and Gatorade Collaborate for ‘The Sound of Hope’

Much has been said about Dwyane Wade’s return to his hometown as a member of the Chicago Bulls. While his consistent play on the court and improved three-point percentage are highlights in ESPN headlines, Wade is looking to use his voice and presence as an effective tool for change. One of the efforts presented from Wade is a short film called Sounds of Hope, a collaborative project with Gatorade.

Sounds of Hope serves as a metaphor for the superstar shooting guard’s use of basketball. Centered on the sound of dribbling, the video displays Wade’s way of maintaining a focus on his goals and sidestepping negative influences.

The effort of Gatorade stretched beyond supporting the video by reaching out and donating to the Willie Mae Morris center in Chicago, the facility is named after Wade’s grandmother and is the hub of his city efforts.

Sounds of Hope campaign is a component of a Wade’s full plan to give back to his hometown by working with partners like Gatorade. One of the efforts is “Spotlight On,” a program set to encourage inner city youth who are making good decisions and allowing people in a variety of professions to showcase their achievements.

Check out the ounds of Hope video from Dwyane Wade and Gatorade below.

Chance The Rapper and SocialWorks Raise $2,000 And Awareness At The Magnificent Coloring Day Music Festival

Chance The Rapper’s career is simply magnificent. The rapper has truly not let any labels stop him, from having the first streaming-exclusive album to chart on Billboard, to giving Chicago a music festival of a lifetime with the Magnificent Coloring Day at U.S Cellular Field. Other than Chance surprising festival goers with a very touching performance with Kanye West and a lineup like no other, the festival also raised $2,000 for SocialWorks.

SocialWorks is a nonprofit founded by Chancelor “Chance The Rapper”, Justin Cunningham, Essence Smith, and  Kenneth Bennet (Chance’s Father). The organization aims to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement while fostering leadership, professionalism, and connectivity within the youth throughout Chicago.

The organization has been in the works since early 2015 when it introduced OpenMike an organization for young creators that helps build the next cultural community. OpenMike has hosted over 16 events creating a safe space for over 350 high school students to engage with some of their favorite artists, explore, dig deep, learn, and network with peers who have similar interests.

The next OpenMike will be held next week: 


What else has SocialWorks done for their community?

  • SocialWorks partned up with the Chicago Park District in the summer of 2015 to reintroduce Chicago locals to their city, showing them a variety of public spaces.
  • SocialWorks is a part of Covenant Faith Church of God’s Kids of the Kingdom, a 6-week program that gives 50 elementary school students the opportunity to learn through music.
  • SocialWorks partnered up with The Empowerment Plant to create The Warmest Winter, an initiative that fundraised $117,517 for 1,175 coats that were distributed to the homeless of Chicago.

The organization is just getting started and intends to continue to cultivate new and interactive experiences and lessons for the youth and local talent of Chicago to use as a tool to flourish.

Source: www.PursitOfDopeness.com

Rhymefest’s Situation With The Chicago Police Inspire A New Song

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This past weekend, Grammy Award-winning artist Rhymefest, known for his major contribution to Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and work with The Donda House was robbed at gun point on the south side of Chicago. Luckily he survived without any injuries, but the tragedy didn’t end there. When the artist, community leader, and creative went to report the crime he was treated disgustingly by local police officers and staff.

After the video went viral with over 2,000 retweets on Twitter, the Chicago Police Department apologized. Apologies are cool and all but this is yet another situation where the cops aren’t protecting their community as they should. Research shows that police injustices   are happening on many different levels. Police reports and cases in lower economic areas are handled insufficiently in comparison to rural areas.

“75 percent of police officers that I’ve ran across. They see you as a potential criminal instead of a citizen that needs protection.” – Pastor Bruce Mcclue

Rhymefest fueled his anger into art hours after the incident, and created “#copsNrobbers”. The tracks producers and engineers include Xzibit, S1, Epikh Pro, Damon Ranger and feature Chicago Rapper, John The Author. Rhyme Fest lyrically told his story on the track while John The Author followed up and addressed the bigger picture of what is happening in Chicago.

African Americans have always turned their pain into beauty, especially when it comes to the arts. The African American Art culture has so much depth, richness, and genuineness because it is a representation of all that we have been through, what we have over came, and where we are going.

Take the time out to listen to Rhymefest’s latest track entitled “#CopsNrobbers” below:

Source: ChicagoTribune.Com







Chance The Rapper Raises More Than $100,000 For “Warmest Winter” Project

There’s no doubting that when Chance The Rapper sets a goal, he achieves it.

We recently brought you the news that the Chicago native was investing his time in his #WarmestWinter project, where he had a goal to raise $100,000 to buy coats for the homeless population in his hometown.

On Friday (January 8), Chance took to his Twitter on to announce that his campaign had raised more than $100,000, completing its goal to fund the 1,000 jackets.

He wrote:

Thanks to good people we raised over $100000 in a few weeks for #WarmestWinter We’ll keep buying coats til the 13th.”

As of yesterday morning, his publication The Empowerment Plan, had raised a total $101,867.

Congrats Chance The Rapper, and to find out more about his Warmest Winter campaign head over to their website.

Chance The Rapper Raises $60,000 in Only Ten Days for “Warmest Winter” Project

It has only been 10 days since Chance The Rapper announced his “Warmest Winter” initiative designed to keep Chicago’s homeless population warm this Winter. In only 10 days the Chicago rapper raised over $60,000, just $40,000 shy of his initial goal.

Chance plans to use the funds to purchase 1,000 EMPWR Coats to help individuals brave the harsh winter weather Chicago is notorious for. Accoding to the site the EMPWR coat is a water-resistant and self-heating jacket, which can transform into a sleeping bag, or be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use.

There is never too much help and Chance can certainly use your hand in this initiative.

Check out a tweet from Chance himself to see how you can get in on the giving!

Michael Jordan Donates Profits From Court Case To 23 Chicago Non-Profits

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Michael Jordan will not only go down as one of the best basketball player of all time, he’ll also go down as one of the most successful fashion icon specifically in the shoe world for his infamous Air Jordans.

Recently MJ won a huge court case against supermarkets Dominick’s & Jewel-Osco worth millions. Upon winning the case, Jordan promised to donate the all of the settlement to 23 different non-profit organizations in his beloved city of Chicago. Though MJ and his spokesperson wouldn’t disclose the amount that was donated due to legality reasons with the court case, there was quite a pretty penny spent.

“I care deeply about the city of Chicago and have such incredible memories from my years there,” Jordan said in a news release according to the Chicago Tribune. “The 23 charities I’ve chosen to make donations to all support the health, education and well-being of the kids of Chicago. Chicago has given me so much and I want to give back to its kids — the city’s future.”

Well done, Michael! Read the full story here.

Chicago Student Spends 21st Birthday Delivering Lunch To Homeless

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While many 21st birthday include a couple drinks and a club or two, one Chicago student decided to celebrate in a rather unique way.

Julyan Madison, a rising senior at Tennessee State, spent his 21st birthday handing out lunches to citizens on Lower Wacker Drive. Along with his mother and brother, Madison said he wanted to make his birthday more meaningful.

“Today is a day I look back on my life and all of the things I’ve done. And there are times I could have been in the same situation they’re in now,” Julyan shared. And this is only the beginning. Madison expressed that he wants to hand out meals every year on his birthday.

Well done Julyan. Well done.


Chance The Rapper Is The Field Trip Chaperon We Wish We Had

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On July 7, Chance The Rapper took a group of Chicago youth on a field trip to Chicago’s Field Museum and it’s like the coolest thing ever. The group of 6-11 year old students boarded a bus and off they went for a trip they’ll probably never forget.

The rapper let us in on some of the fun by sharing photos and videos on his Instagram . The photos make us a little jealous of all the fun they obviously had but we can’t even be mad even if we tried.

Check out some of the photos from the field trip below!

Chance The Rapper Field Trip

Chance The Rapper



A video posted by Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on