The news has taken on a bit of a different connotation since the age of 'alternative facts' descended upon us this month. As we've collectively taken to the streets and web to voice our own opinions, we can still take some solace in the fact that the happenings in and around Chicago continue to stay somewhat positive, depending on where you look. On the entertainment side of things at least, the skies continue to clear the same way they have in the transition from January to February. Without further ado, we give you the latest news and blurbs from in and around Chicago so far this week.
Chance The Rapper Taps Dave Chappelle, New Edition cast for 'Open Mike'
Since beginning in 2015 on the heels of the collaborative SURF project, Chance The Rapper's 'Open Mike' has become a consistent bastion for local artistry, at once inspiring and incubating the next generation of activists and wordsmiths to pace the city's understanding of itself. At the latest edition, hosted Monday night, Chance continued to narrow the divide between the big screen and his hometown by bringing out the likes of the Bulls' Jimmy Butler, the cast of the New Edition movie and comedian Dave Chappelle, who performed a short stand-up set for the high schoolers in attendance.
The program is one that has served as a genuine platform for creativity for the youth of the city and has shown how close the possibilities of the world truly are. Named after close friend and mentor Brother Mike and modeled after programs like Young Chicago Authors and YouMedia, the Open Mike program has been sustained by a network of close friends of Chance's, including the newly-founded Social Works inititative. In the past, Kanye West, Jeremih, Vic Mensa and many more have graced the Open Mike stage, Kendrick Lamar performed at Chance's TIPFest, which served as a capstone to the program in its first year.
Over the weekend, Chance joined Ziggy Marley and Stephen Colbert to perform his rendition of the Arthur Theme song.
Protesters Descend Upon O'Hare Airport Following Trump Edict
It's truly a dark time in America. That, we can't deny. While many of us try to make sense of the idiocracy creeping ever deeper into the consciousness of the White House, the country once again proved it was not in favor of the Electoral College pick to lead the country as thousands in Chicago and across the country camped out at airport terminals from coast to coast to protest a ban on immigrants from over a half dozen countries in what has become known as the 'Muslim Ban'.
Chicago, continuing in a spirit that has seen the lone Trump rally in town turned literally inside out before being cancelled and a week removed from an overwhelming show of female unity and power in the Women's March that filled the city's streets the day following the inauguration, once again proved it would not wilt to the nationalistic tendencies of Fuhrer Trump. At O'Hare Airport, citizens from all walks of life showed out in force to prove to leaders that their feelings on immigrants and refugees' place in the country differed greatly. While Trump's response to the protests has been predictably.....honestly, just stupid, I don't have anything intelligible to write about the man anymore, I apologize. While the times now are tough, lets continue to take some pride in being the blue heart in the heartland and knowing that our city won't fold for any dictator.
Chicago History Museum Take Look at Local Hip-Hop
We here at TheseDays have been talking up the historical significance of the local rap and music scenes here for some time now and it appears the Chicago Renaissance is starting to get some academic notice, as the Chicago History Museum focuses in on the local sounds with their "Hip-Hop: How the City Inspires the Sound" program, part of the museum's "Chicago Voices Talk" series.
Focusing on a somewhat recent lineage of artists from Kanye West and Twista to Chief Keef and CHance The Rapper, and will look at how "Chicago has embraced an eclectic mix of regional East Coast, West Coast and Southern hip-hop styles, but it has always been inspired by the everyday realities and histories of the city," according to a news release.
The talk Tuesday at the Chicago History Museum is the latest intonation of the city's scene being broadcasted on a more academic level and included the likes of FakeShoreDrive's Andrew Barber, Add-2 and OddCouple. In 2016, Chance The Rapper gave a talk at Harvard in the wake of his Coloring Book.
Chief Keef Released from Jail...Again
Chief Keef has once again been released from jail, this time after posting $500K bail in Los Angeles. The arrest allegedly stemmed from an altercation between Keef, legal name Keith Cozart and a former manager, Ramsay Tha Great, according to FakeShoreDrive. Ramsay alleges that Keef and several friends jumped him, robbing him at gunpoint with an AK47. Keef was arrested on January 26 at his Tarzana home and
“Now if I was a celebrity I wouldn’t come personally jump a person with you five friends and a Ak 47 that’s just dumb your famous ……… now I’m taking everything from you . U really just fucked up dude coming to my house with your phone in your pocket with the location on…….. yea I’m pressing charges on yo ass. You a fucking low life mf niggas out here tryna do positive shit and you still on some goofy Chicago shit . We’ll see u in court”
According to NBC Los Angeles, LAPD Capt. Brian Pratt had this to say: “It was a violent home invasion involving firearms being pointed at victims. The detectives did some really great follow up investigation. Witnesses came forward and identified who our suspects were. We knew who we were going after – we weren’t just shooting in the dark.”
It's somewhat disappointing that at this point Keef continues to not have a person in his corner willing to keep him out of such ridiculous situations, a problem that has plagued the artist since he was vaulted to fame via a shirtless YouTube video at 16. Since then, he's faced a ban from performing in his hometown, faced dozens of lawsuits for varying reasons and been evicted from a couple homes in the suburbs in the process.
We'll have to wait and see what comes next for the artist who earlier this year delivered a new project, Two Zero One Seven.