An online campaign is urging Chance the Rapper to consider running for mayor of Chicago.
The website Chano4Mayor.com developed by four 20somethings, states that Chicago needs a new mayor in 2019 — a sentiment echoed by the rapper himself in a story in Complex magazine last year — given the closure of schools and mental health clinics, and systemic problems in the Police Department.
“We want a mayor who will fight for public education. We want a mayor who will reinvest in black and brown communities on the South and West sides. We want a mayor who will address our epidemic of gun violence without the brutality of police or prisons,” said the site.
Its creators think Chance is the right person for the job, pointing out the work he has done to give back to Chicago.
Chance has broadened his profile in Chicago in the last few years by routinely hosting open-mic events for teens at the Chicago Cultural Center, headlining his own Magnificent Coloring Day music festival at the Sox ballpark last summer, encouraging young voters to go the polls in November and launching a coat drive for the homeless in winter 2015.
The Lollapalooza headliner sits on the board of trustees for the DuSable Museum of African American History and will be grand marshal of this year’s Bud Billiken Parade.
Chance will be in the Treasure Valley on Sunday, April 30, to perform at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. Find tickets at ictickets.com.
Last month, after what he called an “unsuccessful” meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss public school funding, the musician gave $1 million to Chicago Public Schools, a lead followed by the Chicago Bulls with another $1 million donated to CPS.
“It is my job, just as who I am, to bring light and attention to public school funding, broken formulas and especially how it affects my hometown,” Chance said.
The website creators — Bea Malsky, Kalil Smith-Nuevelle, Jean Cochrane and Alex Soble — three Chicago residents and a former one ranging in age from 23 to 28, said the site is not a joke.
“We believe that there exists a wide gap between the priorities of the youth of Chicago and our current administration, and we see an opening for a candidate who can inspire us and lead the struggle for justice in this divided city,” they said in a statement.
Chance the Rapper could not immediately be reached for comment.
When comedian Hannibal Buress in a podcast taped in December in Chicago asked the Grammy Award winner, who was born Chancelor Bennett and grew up on the South Side, if he would run for mayor of Chicago, Chance said no. “But I just think that’s such a funny thing, like I could,” he added.
Chance’s song “Somewhere in Paradise,” released in 2015, seems to suggest otherwise. “They say I’m savin’ my city, say I’m stayin’ for good. They screamin’, ‘Chano for mayor,’ I’m thinkin’ maybe I should,” Chance said in a lyric.
He has been critical of Emanuel in the past. In a Billboard magazine interview in August, he criticized how Emanuel handled the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
“In a time of crisis (Emanuel) tried to be strategic, and he should have been more compassionate,” Chance told the magazine. “There’s a larger conversation we need to have about the role of police officers, their relationship to the people as enemy or executioner, when they’re not supposed to be either.”
Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, worked for Emanuel as deputy chief of staff and the director of the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement.
In concert: Chance the Rapper
8 p.m. Sunday, April 30, Ford Idaho Center, 16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa. $39.59 and $59.50. ICTickets.