Despite the recent negative press on Chicago during presidential debates, Common continues to spread positive energy to unify Chicago’s neighborhoods through hip-hop. Kicked off by a community-based showcase on Saturday followed by more musical performances and pop-up restaurants on Sunday, the two-day festival spotlighted local artists, Chicago-bred entertainers and Common’s friends including Vic Mensa, Sir the Baptist, Jeremih, Bilal, R. Kelly, The Roots, Ice Cube, and of course headliner, J.Cole.
The weekend highlights included a surprise performance by Chance the Rapper (which happened to be during his own concert, Magnificent Coloring Book Tour in Sox Park). The two artists appeared at each other’s festivals Saturday, Common joining John Legend to perform their Oscar-winning rap-gospel anthem “Glory.”
One of the day’s most memorable performances was the performance of Common’s latest track, “Black America Again” after he invoked the names of African-American shooting victims from Laquan McDonald to Philando Castile. The legendary hip-hop group, the Roots took us back with renditions of songs from James Brown and Kool & the Gang.
This philanthropic festival empowered and educated black youth, reaffirming that indeed there are good things happening in urban Chicago. Check out the full video interview and story with MADE and Common in our next e-zine issue released on 11/2.
Photography by Chelsey Sinceŕray