A growing group of young Chicago voters have launched a campaign aimed at landing Chance The Rapper as his home city’s next mayor.
“We would be very happy if he ran,” said Bea Malsky, 23, a Chicago game designer and writer, who is also among those trying to entice convince the rapper into taking on incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2019.
“At the very least, we would be very happy if he’d become more politically involved and he endorsed a candidate who stands up for the same things that he stands up for in his music,” she added.
If any of the rapper’s recent actions or past words are any indications of what he’s thinking, the job of convincing him of taking such a stance may not be the longshot some might imagine.
The “No Problems” rapper recently met with Illinois governor Bruce Rauner to talk about ways of improving the troubled state and in his 2015 hit song “Somewhere in Paradise” he included the lyrics: “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’s sizeable donations to the cash-strapped Chicago Public School system that produced him have also become legendary, including his recent $1 million contribution to the home office and his series of $10,000 donations to several local grade schools.
Malsky noted the announced pledge “gave us a lot of momentum and got us more excited.”
As for the chano4mayor.com website, it includes drawings of the rapper along with politically inspired lyrics from some of his biggest hits.
“He’s overtly political in his songs, so including direct quotes from them was an easy way to demonstrate some of his positions,” said Kalil Smith-Nuevelle, 23, a web developer who helped put the site together.
In addition to some of the rapper’s perceived highlights, the website also makes mention of some of Emanuel’s failings, among them local school closings, mental-health clinic shutdowns and the pattern of police misconduct found by the Department of Justice in the wake of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago cop.
The group puts the responsibility for the city’s shortcomings in those areas directly at the feet of the mayor.
A spokesperson for the mayor begged to differ, defending his record in all those areas.
“We’re not thinking about an election that’s two years away,” said Matt McGrath. “We’re focused on continuing to build on the record educational gains our students and teachers are making at Chicago Public Schools, driving economic development in every neighborhood across the city and addressing our public-safety challenge by combating the scourge of gun violence.”
Chance has no political history to speak of and if he elected to run, he would be facing off against one of his politically-connected father’s biggest allies.
Ken Bennett has worked as a top City Hall aide to Emanuel and once served on former President Barack Obama’s White House staff. At least part of his job description under Emanuel was as a liaison to the African-American community.
Though he wouldn’t be eligible to vote in any Windy City election, a recent video posted by TMZ indicates that Chance might even have the support of fellow rapper Drake if he were to formally launch a run.
The “Hotline Bling” rapper recently shared with reporters he’s convinced that Chance would be a fine mayor.
Thus far, the campaign’s Twitter account has registered nearly 100 followers and counting, though the rapper or anyone from his team has yet to publicly respond to his growing recruitment.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]