People are afraid of Chicago. When I travel to over cities they wonder how I survive here. Last weekend I was standing outside the African Fest in Washington Park and a 50 something year old Black man was afraid to unfold his lawn chair and sit there on the corner to wait for his friends. He said “you know how cousin Pookie and nem be”. So when the British news released their documentary this week about how violent Chicago, it reminded me of a questions Chicagoans have been asking for years: how much does all this fear cost and who does it benefit?
This ain’t no fairy tale. Chicago has problems. They sometimes keep me up at night, but not afraid. I have 2 Black sons, they both live on the south side, but I’m not afraid. I have hope in my people because I’ve seen what we’re capable of. Also, being actively involved in the work to make things better puts me in contact with lots of others doing the same. We really are gone be alright.
Light attracts itself. My self-care regimen includes seeking Black excellence, surrounding myself with the best of our art, literature, dance, music, and intellect. I do it as deliberately as corporate media does the opposite. But I’m also media. We all got our own individually tailored platforms to help shape the narratives of those we touch. Black Chicago is full of so much beauty, and fight, and creativity. Most of the good stuff doesn’t get nearly enough expose. Instead of always asking ‘whose fault is that’ let’s try to take more ownership over whose responsibility it is.
Here’s some art to check out. Black brilliance with the kind of rawness and talent that is much more