It's been a crazy few weeks to be a Chicagoan. From the Cubs winning the World Series to last week's election to the continued emergence of local artistry, as Vic Mensa would say; 'There's a lot going on.' Happenings around the city continued, becoming distinctly less animated and more serious in the wake of last Tuesday's electoral college win for Donald Trump. Despite the perceived world-ending news, Chicagoans continued to get it, pushing forward across several fronts to continue putting the city at the forefront nationally. Scroll down for more.
Noname Announces North American Tour
It finally happened this year. After years of waiting and praying for Noname's instant classic, Telefone, 2016 was the year that brought us the longtime MCs debut project. Fittingly, the careful wordsmith and favorite of the scene at large announced the perfect follow-up, a North American tour. The string of shows will kick off early next year, taking up the majority of February and March, and will see her joined by fellow These Days favorite Ravyn Lenae. The Telefone tour marks Noname's first headlining touring experience, but having crisscrossed the world over the last couple of years doing shows, she's earned the chops to handle her own excursion.
Teenage Girls Meet with City Leaders over Change for Black Youth
Chicago's youth have never been a group that backs down from challenges, and it appears the next generation is learning to stand up for itself as those before them. Last week, a contingent of young women from across the city met with city leaders to demand changes to what they labeled "systemic oppression" in a "multifaceted battle" in the wake of the Police-involved shooting death of 25-year-old Joshua Beal and incendiary text messages from a group of Marist students.
The group of young women met with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea and Marist High School Principal Larry Tucker after cancelling a scheduled CPS protest in response to the recent issues. Protesters and Police supporters have clashed in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood in recent weeks since Beal, an Indianapolis native, was gunned down there by Police while in a funeral procession. According to NBC 5, organizers from Black Lives Matter Youth and Walter Payton College Prep’s Black Student Union had planned to walk out of school to "meet at Wrigley Square Millennium Park and travel to Marist High School to denounce “the racist response of locals in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood and students at Marist High School to the murder of Joshua Beal.”
The protest was instead cancelled so that organizers could meet with Johnson, who agreed to make the sitdown a monthly affair moving forward.
“Superintendent Johnson agreed to hold mandatory workshops that educate officers on the efforts of Black Lives Matter as an organization,” activist Eva Lewis said following the meeting. “He also agreed to hold monthly meetings to discuss police brutality.”
Vic Mensa Pens Essay Calling for Action and Unity Following Election Results
It's no secret at this point for anyone who's been paying attention that Vic Mensa is unafraid to speak his mind. The "16 Shots" rapper and Chicago native continued to prove as much last week, penning a handwritten letter calling for action and unity in response to the recent Presidential Election which resulted in the nomination of Donald Trump as President-Elect.
In the impassioned piece, which skirts easy arguments to focus on larger, big picture ideas that have largely been swept under the rug in the face of our new bigot-in-chief. Writing in the essay of a need to eschew the idea of race before we forget about racism, Mensa raises an interesting point: "We have Irish people, English people, Polish people, Russians, and Chinese people, and Indians from India, Native Americans. All of this brown, black and white has stolen the true identity of humanity and been used to categorize people so they can focus on their differences more than their similarities." He goes on to say that by ignoring the ideas of race projected on us from previous generations, we can instead focus on ways to ease that divide.
Chicago artists have been vocal in political matters since bursting onto the scene once again over the last five years. While artists like Mensa, Chance The Rapper and even Nico Segal who literally changed his name to escape Trump, it sadly has been lost on an earlier generation from the 'Go. Last week Kanye West told a crowd in Sacramento he 'would have voted for Trump' adding that he didn't vote. Chance hosted a 'March to the Polls' for young people and a free concert to help get voters out on Election Day.
Read the rest of Mensa's letter here.