WOODLAWN — Chance The Rapper made good on his commitment to join Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia on the campaign trail … and Kanye West joined in Tuesday.
Chance endorsed Enyia last week and promised to lend his support. The two held a rally Tuesday afternoon on the southeast corner of 63rd and Cottage Grove.
With the rally well underway, West appeared briefly and stood beside Chance while Enyia shared her political platform. He left shortly after arriving without making any statements.
But his presence made it clear: In a crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Enyia’s campaign is the one with the star power.
On Monday, Chance tweeted a flier of him with Enyia, promoting a rally to highlight gentrification and displacement. The event was their first collaborative “pull up” rally events.
Enyia said last week that Chance’s involvement in her campaign “is not your typical, flash-in-the-pan endorsement.”
Indeed, ever since the City Hall press conference that catapulted Enyia’s campaign, Chance’s support of Enyia has been constant and frequent across his various social media platforms, with Instagram posts in the front.
On Tuesday, during the the nearly two-hour event, Enyia and Chance took turns addressing local residents on issues like gentrification, community investment, funding mental health programs and recidivism. They took questions from residents, community activists and prospective political candidates.
The 63rd and Cottage Grove Green Line stop was picked for their first “pull up” so the candidate could “meet people where they are,” she said.
“This campaign is a people driven campaign, we are lifting up the issues that are affecting us in our neighborhoods,” Enyia said. “This campaign is not about one person looking for a job on the 5th floor. This campaign is part of a movement of the people of this city who have said that they want something better than what we have.”
Chance told the crowd: “We want the entire city beyond just a government level, or a private level, on a non-profit level, everybody to start working towards healing us because we can’t move forward until we are healed, because there are a lot of broken people out here.
“We got a lot of people that just seen crazy s—, yo, and they’re at a point where they don’t know what to do, so we need s— to do and that’s going to be on the city, that’s going to be on you, that’s going to be on the private businesses that we allow to come into Chicago, that’s going to be on non-profits that receive tax breaks every year, that’s on the backs of the churches that’s supposed to be our spiritual leaders, our schools, it’s going to be on as a people to give us s— to do, and the entertainers as well.”
By the rally’s end, nearly 200 people crowded the city block. Among the people in attendance was longtime Englewood resident Dana Ford, 27, who said she came to see Chance and Kanye West, but opted to stay and listen.
She’s never seen politicians — or stars — come there, and hoped Enyia and Chance would return.
“I wish they would try to stop so much of the shooting and stuff around here because it’s a lot going on around here,” Ford said. “I don’t know. I feel like they need to make something happen.”
Ford said she intends to vote for mayor and events like the rally make her more interested in the political process.
“It’s just everything that I’ve been hearing makes me want to be further and further into politics and learn what’s really going on,” she said.
Beatrice Watson heard about the rally from representatives from the Enyia campaign who visited her senior citizen home, Park Shore East, 6250 S. Harper Ave.
She said she’s plugged into national and local news, and was glad to hear from Enyia.
“I think it’s time for a new voice, a young voice, that’s innovative and determined,” she said. “I want to give her as much support as I can.”
Watson was most impressed with Chance, saying his interest in Enyia’s campaign “blew her away.”
“I just don’t take them very seriously, the rappers, but I am so happy to see that he’s serious about, not just trying to make money, but serious about what’s going on with the people in the community so that’s very impressive,” she said.
Elliott Ducree Jr., 19, a Hyde Park resident majoring in political science at the University of Chicago, said he’s a registered voter who came to the rally to learn as much as he could to help make his decision for the Feb. 26 mayoral election to replace Emanuel, who opted out of running for a third term.
It will be Ducree’s first election as a voter, and he said he appreciated Enyia’s positions on launching a public bank and reopening mental health centers. He came to the event with a dozen of his peers — and he saw even more in the crowd.
“This whole young people voting thing is really new,” Ducree said. “I used to live in Texas for a long time and Texas is a non-voting state, so all I know is my peers not voting. So it’s nice to see these people out here, that are my age, that I go to school with, even if they just came for Chance.’’’
Enyia said the next “pull up” rally will be held somewhere Downtown, but didn’t reveal details.
This much is clear from Tuesday: It will draw a crowd.