After becoming the first rapper to win a Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and a Tony award, and after being the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, Lena Waithe and Common team up to produce the next big TV hit, The Chi. Based and filmed in Chicago, The Chi tells the story of everyday Chicagoans dealing with family, finances, and violence, while managing talent, adolescence, and fast pace of the city. All of this is brought to viewers in a way that is authentic and can relate to other people outside of Chicago.
The Chi tells 4 different stories of the death of two children, a young father who has his priorities messed up, a young man who’s making an honest living and doing something positive, and a child juggling childhood and the streets of Chicago. All the stories intertwine and showcase a bigger story that mirrors the issues many black communities in America are facing.
Made In Stone got a chance to attend a special screening at Studio Movie Grill in the Chatham neighborhood, hosted by Lena Waithe, Common, Essence magazine! After the screening, a Q&A session was in full effect with Lena and Common answer questions from the moderator and the audience. During the session, both producers explained they felt their stories being told watching the pilot. They also felt the show displayed the struggles Chicago deals with and the show will touch on the vulnerability of black men. Common said he wanted the voices of Chicago to be heard because the violence of Chicago is often overshadowing the positivity and beauty of the city. Waithe claims this show is “protest art”. She wanted to humanize Black people and black boys because the media often doesn’t do that. She believes that black men deserve to be valued.
You can support Chicago art and Chicago artists by tuning into the premiere episode of The Chi, January 7th on Showtime. Watch the trailer below!