The Chi Cast
By Mwabi Kaira

Chicago was known for deep dish pizza, the greatness of Michael Jordan as a Bulls player and the once upon a time genius of Kanye West until gun violence took over as its focal point. Some have suggested that the National Guard and The United Nations step in to help gun violence in the city. Two Chicago natives have had enough of hearing about the ills of their beloved hometown and have done something about it.

Emmy award winner Lena Waithe co-wrote the new Showtime series The Chi, and Grammy/Emmy and Oscar-winning rapper Common executive produced it to show a different narrative. Lena got the inspiration for the show after watching yet another news report about gun violence in the city. The Chi follows four working-class families on the South Side of Chicago as they face their highs and lows. Crime constantly threatens to destroy their worlds.

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Lena Waithe
Despite Chicago’s issues Lena knows it as the place that molded her and has fond memories of her childhood. The Chi is not autobiographical for Lena and humanity is at its core. She explains, 
“My mission is to show that these young black men are not born with a gun in their hand. These are kids who come out with all the promise and hope that any other kid does. I wanted to humanize them and show that their lives are valid. But I don’t paint us in a perfect light at all. My hope is that I can show us in an honest way. That’s it. Not bad. Not perfect. Just accurate."
Common
Common has been painting Chicago’s diversity in music for decades and knows that seeing it on the screen will have a different impact. He says, 
"We need to understand that Black people are human beings who love, cry and get angry and love their families and love God. We get scared to talk to girls at times. To be able to tell a story that is very specific to Chicago and the universal struggle of Black life is important to me."
The Chi’s first episode aired on Sunday night and we were introduced to a working class mother, grieving parents, an aspiring chef, a sneaker-loving teen father and a wide-eyed pre-teen with puppy love on his brain while navigating the mean streets of Chicago. Although The Chi is not the first show based in Chicago, it is one that is closest in hitting the mark about the black experience.

Cast of The Chi
Even though the premiere episode of The Chi aired at the same time as The Golden Globes, 1.68 million viewers tuned in and gave Showtime its best premiere since Billions. The Chi is off to a great start and looks amazingly promising. Tune in to The Chi at 10 PM on Sundays on Showtime.

Is The Chi on your radar?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/


It’s back to school time! In order to joyfully bring in the occasion, Chance The Rapper is continuing his charitable spirit and will be providing Chicago students in need with supplies. That’s right, Lil’ Chano from 79th teamed up with STATE Bags to donate 30,000 backpacks to children living in Chicago’s most impoverished neighborhoods, distributed through Chance’s SocialWorks empowerment charity.

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“What too often gets lost in the negative narrative swirling around the city’s most underfunded and embattled communities is the undeniable love, hope, and pride that is bursting from these very neighborhoods and the incredible, resilient kids living within them,” per an official initiative press release. “This is the story STATE co-founders Scot and Jacq Tatelman have seen firsthand, and the one they are committed to sharing with the world.”

Scot and Jacq Tateleman will be joining the artist to personally handed out the bags to thousands of Chicago kids and their families at the Bud Billiken parade this past Saturday. The parade is Chicago’s official back-to-school affair.



Chance even surprised the parade-goers with a free concert!





Overall, it was such a positive event. With Chicago’s reputation rife with crime and gang activity in the national news, it was nice to see that this event was filled with pure joy and a giving spirit.




So, now that it’s back-to-school time for the kids from the Chi, what does Chance have to say to those students?




Chance is definitely one of the good ones!

Source: EBONY

What do you think inspires Chance The Rapper to give back so often to his community? 
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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

A Chicago bar located in River North has released a controversial dress code policy that has everyone talking.

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The Bottle Blonde, a beer and pizza garden located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago has released a policy that has many wondering just exactly who it is they're looking to keep away. The bar released a very lengthy dress code policy that bans patrons who are wearing Jordans, Air Force Ones or plain white t-shirts to name a few.

The 10, 000 sq. foot venue with a capacity of 500 describes itself as a "casual neighborhood concept of restaurant and nightlife. But the dress code is just the opposite. It's policy reads the following:

“Bottled Blonde will maintain a classy atmosphere and reserves the right to refuse anyone,” the code states. “A high standard of dress is required at all times. Dress code is on a case-by-case basis, and is at the sole discretion of the door staff. In all instances, the door staff’s decision is final. If denied entry, changing your appearance will not change the decision.”


You can see part of the lengthy dress code policy below:

-No bad attitudes or behavior
-No baggie, sagging, ripped, dirty, frayed, overly flashy or bright clothing
-No Hawaiian, tie dye, floral, skull prints or anything else obnoxious (What is their definition of obnoxious?)
-No embellishments, statement jackets, shirts, beanies or hats
-No plain white tees, long tees, denim, flannel, or zippered shirts
-No cut off shirts, deep v-necks, undershirts or mesh shirts. And no tank tops after 6 p.m.
-No overalls, cargo, bleached, acid wash, odd colored or leather pants.
-No joggers, manpris, drop crotch pants or multi-zippered pants
-No Jordans, Nike Air Max, or Air Force Ones
-No male jewelry and no visible tattoos on neck, face or hands

Over the years, the River North neighborhood has heard several complaints, mostly from patrons of color, who have been denied entry because of either strict dress codes or being denied for other miscellaneous unjustifiable reasons. The Bottled Blonde appears to be no different.

Even more confusing is this post on their Facebook page that clearly seems to go against the dress code of the venue. And from the looks of the comments, people are calling out the venue's contradiction and rightfully so.

What do you think about their dress code? Share in the comments
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Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

On Saturday, May 20th, hundreds of members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. marched through the Southside of Chicago in an effort to reclaim their community. And while it hasn't gathered much media coverage, it's important that stories like these are told, especially when we're consistently that the Black community isn't doing much to save their own outside of fighting for police brutality.

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Alphas In The Streets is an initiative that aims to do just that.
Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

"The Alphas in the Streets Initiative is an aim to champion our communities and continue to advocate for the worth, wealth, and resources that are available within. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. develops leaders, promotes brotherhood, and academic excellence while providing service and advocacy for our communities. The Iota Delta Lambda Chapter, of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., wants to combat the negative stigmas that plague the community, marching against violence with the community, families of victims, and collective mentees from various mentoring programs. This is a continued effort to "call to action" those that believe mentoring our youth can save our streets, a statement that says we are for our city and the safety of our neighborhoods, and a promise that we are here to better the lives of all."

And while the media won't show you things like this, just know that it's happening, and in Chicago. Kudos to these brothers!
Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Photo Credit: Andre Jamar/Andre Jamar Photography 
Alphas In The Streets, Saturday May 20, 2017

Why do you think the media won't show stories like these?
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Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

For the 8th consecutive year in a row, Chicago's Urban Prep Academy is sending 100% of its students to college. A notable accomplishment the school has achieved every year since 2010.

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According to its website, "100% of the seniors from Urban Prep's Englewood, West and Bronzeville campuses have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities. Students from all three campuses, faculty,and parents celebrated the momentous occasion with an with a public event on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Seniors from the class of 2017 have been accepted to over 170 colleges and universities, and have amassed over $15 million in scholarships and grants to date including four prestigious Posse Scholarships."

Students have been accepted into a list of schools including, Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown, Johnson C. Smith University, Illinois State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Indiana University, North Carolina A&T, Xavier University of Louisiana and several others. You can view the full list of schools these young men have been accepted into here.




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Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie