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Chance the Rapper

Fans launch Chicago mayor campaign for Chance the Rapper

The Chano4Mayor2k19 tell us why they want the musician to take the next step and run for the city position

“I’m in love with my city, bitch I sleep in my hat”. Chance the Rapper really loves and cares Chicago. He recently pledged $1million to Chicago Public Schools, and has illustrated the city’s needs and issues across his discography: “Summer school get to losing students, but the CPD getting new recruits,” he raps on “Summer Friends”. On “Acid Rain”, he laments: “Funerals for little girls is that appealing to you? From your cubicle desktop, what a beautiful view.” Chance has been a consistent and passionate advocate for his hometown: so much so that there’s a fan-run campaign urging the rapper to run for mayor in 2019.

The Chano4Mayor2k19 team includes Bea Malsky, Kalil Smith-Nuevelle, Jean Cochrane, and Alex Soble. They want to convince Chance to run for office when Rahm Emmanuel is up for re-election in 2019.

“We developed the site and the campaign because we want Chance to be the mayor of Chicago, but we also did it because we’re invested in developing the political imagination of our city,” they tell Dazed.

“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. If Chance runs as that candidate, we will support him.”

The campaign team’s website emphasises Chance’s contribution and work that he’s done supporting Chicago Public Schools, as well as the ‘Open Mike’ he’s been running for local high school students, and scheme for supplying coats for the homeless. This all “demonstrates a commitment to empowering Chicago’s marginalised populations,” the Chano4Mayor website reads.

If Chance were to run, he’d be up against Emanuel, who’s been in office since 2011. Chicago has suffered some serious issues in the past few years: the city shut down six of its 12 mental health clinics, and residents have experienced the largest closure of public schools in history, with 50 institutions shutting down. The Department of Justice found a pattern of civil rights violations by the Chicago Police Department, including, as the campaign for Chance points out, the murder of Laquan McDonald

“We want a mayor who will fight for public education,” the group write. “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. We want a mayor who will let the young people of Chicago lead.”

Previous election turnouts were quite low at 33 per cent, and the campaign team want the rapper to speak up whether he decides to run or not. They tell Dazed: “If he chooses not to, we would love to see him use his platform to back a candidate who will. The site is not at all a joke, although we’re delighted if people find it funny, because in Chicago that’s usually a sign that you’re doing good politics.”

Check out the Chano4Mayor campaign here, and cross your fingers Chicago. Looking back on his 2015 tune “Somewhere in Paradise”, there’s a glimmer of hope: he rapped, “They screamin’, ‘Chano for mayor,’ I’m thinkin’ maybe I should.”