CHICAGO — Chance the Rapper used his debut video for the new Chicagoist to highlight eight young people running for aldermen in the city.
The Chicagoist video, which had been watched more than 100,000 times by Monday morning, explains how wards work, what aldermen do and the unique challenges faced by people running for aldermen against incumbents. Chance portrays reporter “Champ Bennett,” interviewing Chicagoans to show how much (or little) people know about the city’s political leaders.
The video is titled: “Elderly Aldermen.” Helping explain how things really work in Chicago is comedian Hannibal Buress, wearing a gray wig and playing the role of 51st Ward Ald. Al Durhman, the “longest serving alderman of Chicago.”
Durhman gives a list of things aldermen help with. (“If you want to start a bar, get a liquor license, you got to pay me off,” he said.)
He also explains what alderman don’t do, including helping get boots off cars. (“It’s not my fault you didn’t pay your parking tickets, now your Altima has a canary yellow Timberland. Pay your damn parking tickets. That’s a different department than me.”)
Among Bennett’s non-fictional subjects are eight people currently running to be aldermen of different wards around the city. They tell Bennett about the issues they’ve faced during their campaigns, why they decided to run and why they think other people should run for political office.
Watch the video:
“Young people face obstacles for the most basic things, let alone run for office,” said Rossana Rodriguez, who is running in the 33rd Ward. “Running for office is incredibly difficult. The system is set up so that only the people who have resources and connections can actually make it into those spaces.”
Others tell Bennett young candidates struggle because they don’t have the money and the political and social connections incumbents do. Young candidates also don’t have the knowledge incumbents do, the candidates and reporters tell Bennett, which means it becomes easier for them to be kicked off the ballot for technicalities.
At one point, Bennett asks the candidates what chance younger people have when it comes to governing the wards in which they live.
“Depending on where they live? Very little,” Maria Hadden, who is running in the 49th Ward, tells Bennett. “And it’s not just about young people. It’s like, what chance do any of us that are not currently the alderman or in charge of our local party have of governing our ward?”
The featured candidates:
• Cleopatra Watson, 9th Ward
• Berto Aguayo, 15th Ward
• Nicole Johnson, 20th Ward
• Hilario Dominguez, 25th Ward
• Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward
• Maggie O’Keefe and Ugo Okere, 40th Ward
• Maria Hadden, 49th Ward
Chance, a Chatham native, first announced he bought defunct local news site Chicagoist in a song released in July.