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Chance The Rapper Endorses Activist Amara Enyia For Chicago Mayor

"I'd like to say very narcissistically: If I back you, you have a chance, absolutely," Chance said during a Tuesday news conference at City Hall.

Chance the Rapper endorsed mayoral candidate Amara Enyia.
Lee Edwards/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chance the Rapper isn’t throwing his famous “3” hat into the ring — instead, he’s endorsing Amara Enyia for mayor.

Some had expected the rapper and philanthropist, a Chatham native, to run for mayor (and his fans have been urging him to on social media). But Chance instead called on Chicagoans to support Enyia, head of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

“I’d like to say very narcissistically: If I back you, you have a chance, absolutely,” Chance said during a Tuesday news conference at City Hall.

“I want to work with somebody that’s about change, somebody that’s about our community, somebody that’s about equity, somebody that’s about fairness.

“The one person, in my research in this wide-open race, whose views align with me, would obviously be candidate Amara Enyia.”

Enyia, who ran against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015 but later withdrew her candidacy, said she and Chance have similar goals, pointing to her past work trying to prevent the closure of Chicago Public Schools and provide mental health resources for Chicagoans, among other things.

“Chance and I, as evidenced by his work and my work in the city of Chicago, have a shared vision for this city. Today’s announcement is just the beginning,” Enyia said. “This is not your typical, flash-in-the-pan endorsement.”

Chance said he “probably won’t ever” run for mayor, but he plans to support a “massive” vote education and registration drive ahead of the coming election to get young people to the polls. His goal is to see the largest voter turnout in people aged 18 to 25 in Chicago history.

“If you’re willing to see what this city could be, then vote for Amara,” Chance said.

Chance, who said he’s been a political strategist of sorts to Enyia in recent weeks, said he has not yet given her cash.

“I haven’t yet. But we’ll see,” he said. “I have a lot of money. It would be scary.”

Asked why a candidate would benefit from this endorsement, Chance pointed out all of the cameras and reporters for his announcement.

“I’m the voice right now,” he said. “There’s a whole lot of people in this room.”

He also said other candidates in the race, whom he did not name, reached out for his help recently.

Chance’s dad, Ken Bennett, a former aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, endorsed Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in the mayoral race last month.

Chance said family will always be family to him, but he and his father are on different tracks this election.

Enyia, a former journalist and attorney who has worked in city government, founded the Institute for Cooperative Economics and Economic Innovation, a social lab that aims to educate and advocate for the expansion of cooperative economic models like worker-owned co-ops, housing co-ops and community land trusts.

Creator of “Thanks for Paying Your Taxes,” an animated series that simplifies public finance to help residents understand how their tax dollars are being used, Enyia also conducts annual budget analyses of City of Chicago budgets and hosts town halls across Chicago to help residents understand tax revenue, according to her campaign biography. She lives on the city’s West Side. 

The list of contenders who have announced runs for mayor is long and includes: Enyia; Preckwinkle; former top cop Garry McCarthy; former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley; former Daley chief of staff Gery Chico; former CPS CEO Paul Vallas; former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot;  businessman Willie Wilson; Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown; former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere; ; State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford; activist Ja’Mal Green; CodeNow CEO Neal Sales-Griffin; Jerry Joyce Jr., the son of a former 19th Ward alderman; former 11th Ward aldermanic candidate John Kozlar; Garden Party founder Mathew Roney; and former Harold Washington aide Dock Walls.