How Chance The Rapper Is Helping The City Of Chicago In Amazing Ways
In a recent NY Post article about the Chicago White Sox collaborating with local artist Chance The Rapper to create a new hat design, the author called 22-year-old Chancellor Bennett's music (that's his real name) "dehumanizing gangster rap."
While the author also admitted he knew nothing about Chance before he started writing the piece, he went on to describe his style as "pro forma, no-upside, can't-expect-better-from-us, women-denigrating, blood-on-the-breeze rap" after listening to just one song.
It was an overall lazy article.
People who actually listen to Chance will be the first to tell you his music is the complete opposite of what the writer insinuates. His last two singles, "Angles" and "Sunday Candy," are positively uplifting bangers dedicated to his grandma and peers, which gives hope to a city that's, quite frankly, known for violence.
He's actually one of the few rappers we can bump with our homies, or around our families without feeling completely awkward. And while he may be "unmarried with a child," another strange point the author made, he's doing more for his community than any other rapper could say.
Chance teamed up with nonprofit The Empowerment Plan last year to launch Warmest Winter 2016, which is creating one-of-a-kind, self-heating, water-resistant jackets for the homeless that can be converted into sleeping bags and over-the-shoulder bags.
They're called EMPWR coats.
This coat turns into a sleeping bag for homeless. Homeless are hired to make the coats. https://t.co/43Is78SKRM pic.twitter.com/RVJiAJKtvX — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) December 17, 2015
Not to mention, the project successfully opened job opportunities for the homeless in the community.
According to the website, "Homeless parents from local shelters [are hired] to become full time seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families."
This coat is a self heating jacket, sleeping bag and creates jobs. Bring them to Chicago https://t.co/pgLTSXr7kRpic.twitter.com/ZEV3nHg1yd — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) December 18, 2015
With weather reaching as low as -20 degrees with the added wind chill in Chicago, the EMPWR coat has literally saved lives, reducing the number of deaths to homeless people from hypoterhmia by 20 percent.
According to statistics provided by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless,
125,848 Chicagoans were homeless in the course of the 2014-15 school year. This is partly based on the 20,205 homeless students who were identified by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Another 11.3% of students (2,279) lived in shelters, and 1.7% lived in motels (136), in a park or other “public place” (55), or in a temporary foster care placement (163).
The project ran from December 16 through January 13 and raised over $100,000 from 1,000 coats for the homeless.
Aside from this, Chance has actively been giving back to his city by helping to start the social media trend #SaveChicago, which resulted in a 42-hour period without a gun-related homicide in the city.
#SaveChicago — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 26, 2014
when i was in LA My pops asked me to help with a project. He was tryin to get Community Org's in CHI to prevent every murder on Memorial Day — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
He had talked to Churches, Schools, Outreach Prog's and Business's, trying to get them to commit to saving every life possible yesterday — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
The plan was to get these mass numbers of people out on street corners Friday night with posters and banners with the plea "#SAVECHICAGO" — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
His plan was to get radio stations like @WGCI and @Power92Chicago to say "PUT YOUR GUNS DOWN CHICAGO" every hour on the hour the wk before — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
all he asked of me was to say something on social media. and so i did ambiguously through tweets that hinted at an album, or a song #MAY23rd — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
And even though i was outta town i checked in constantly. come to FIND OUT WE WENT 42 HOURS FROM THURSDAY TO SATURDAY NIGHT W/O ONE SHOOTING — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
not one reported shooting from the day before we stepped on those corners til the day after. http://t.co/pYuDCiJcwa — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
and when monday came this is what happened http://t.co/XUJnCgvzgN Read that from top to bottom and then come help us #SaveChicago — Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) May 27, 2014
According to statistics, 3,000 people in Chicago were shot in 2015, and "every year Chicago Police recover more illegal guns than officers in any other city." That number continues to be on the rise.
In the first 10 days of 2016 alone, three times as many people were shot than in the beginning of 2015. Gun violence is rampant throughout much of Chicago, where over 80 percent of shootings are in the black community, and over 90 percent are male.
Chance also gives back to students in Chicago. Along with his brother, he raised $100,000 for six elementary schools, providing them with new technology equipment.
He's the type of dude, along with fellow Chicago rapper NoName Gypsy, who will randomly take a group of kids on a field trip to the museum.
Iconic photo of me and @nonamegypsyy on a field trip together A photo posted by Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on Jul 7, 2015 at 3:34pm PDT
We some scientists #sox #staff A photo posted by Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on Jul 7, 2015 at 10:23am PDT
COLE PARK FIELD TRIP to the FIELD MUSEUM 6-11 yr olds WE LIT @CHICAGOPARKS A video posted by Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) on Jul 7, 2015 at 9:30am PDT
Chance also organizes many free events for Chicago kids, including Teens in the Park Festival, where he's introduced big-time guests like Kendrick Lamar.
He's also successfully planned "Open Mike" nights, where young artists get to build their confidence and meet other artists like Vic Mensa and Kanye West. All you need to get in is a valid school ID.
At just 22 years old, the amount of work Chance The Rapper has done for the people of Chicago is more than impressive, it's unprecedented.
He's done an exceptional job of not only pointing out the realities in his music but also taking personal action to help push for change.
His efforts have not been recognized by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, either, who honored Chance with the "Outstanding Youth of the Year Award" for his "outstanding contributions to the youth" by contributing to the "upward mobility of young people throughout the state of Illinois."
When the Chicago White Sox asked Chance The Rapper to design their new hat, and even honored him with the ceremonial first pitch, what they did was send out an important message that speaks to a new direction in which the city is heading.
His overall message and what he's actually putting into action speaks louder than what any ignorant journalist can ever say about him.
Not only could Chance be one of the greatest artists of our generation, but more prominently, one of the most impactful pioneers.