BLACK VOICES

Chance The Rapper Endorses Chicago Mayoral Candidate Amara Enyia

“I believe you are looking at the future mayor of Chicago," Chance said during a press conference.

Chance the Rapper has stepped into Chicago’s mayoral race by endorsing candidate Amara Enyia, who he said shares a vision with him of “what Chicago could be.”

The Grammy Award-winning musician and philanthropist said he’s supporting Enyia because the candidate is “about change” and “community,” among other praises.

“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,” he said during a press conference at Chicago’s City Hall on Tuesday.

Enyia, who previously ran for mayor in the 2015 race, says she’s seeking a “visionary leadership that is powered by the people,” according to her campaign website. 

Prior to his City Hall appearance on Tuesday, Chance tweeted a City of Chicago media advisory that announced his press conference, which sparked speculation that the “Coloring Book” artist had plans to jump in the race.

But the 25-year-old Chicago native, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, made it clear at the news conference that he had no intentions of throwing his name in the ring. He said he “probably won’t ever be running for mayor,” according to the Associated Press.

Chance instead threw his support behind Eniya, the director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, who holds a law degree and a Ph.D. in education policy. She is one of more than a dozen candidates running in the race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2019.

During the press conference, the Chicago rapper explained that his love for his hometown has motivated him to speak out on issues affecting Chicagoans and disenfranchised communities, like education and policing.

“Obviously love this city, I love it enough to call it out, on its shortcomings,” he said according to a video clip published by the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m proud to announce that I will not be running for mayor,” he later added. “But I’d like to say very narcissistically that if I back you, you have a chance, absolutely.”

Eniya, who took the podium following Chance’s endorsement, said the rapper’s announcement was not the “typical flash-in-the-pan endorsement.”

“Today represents a commitment, the commitment that Chance and I and the hundreds of people that we’ve organized with, advocated with and worked alongside,” she said. “Today is the beginning of Chicago’s next level.”

Chance has long advocated for social change in Chicago. Last year, he donated $1 million to Chicago’s public school system. His nonprofit organization, SocialWorks, aims to empower the youth in the city through “arts, education, and civil engagement...” He’s also previously partnered with the NAACP to provide fans the opportunity to register to vote at his concerts. 

When asked during the press conference about his father, Ken Bennett’s, endorsement of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, the rapper explained that he viewed Eniya as the “most qualified candidate,” the Sun-Times reported.

“At the end of the day, I’m always going to love my dad,” he said according to the Sun-Times. “But that has nothing to do with what I see as the future of Chicago.”

Bennett, former deputy chief to Emanuel, also previously served as White House deputy assistant under former President Barack Obama. 

“There is no monolith in votes, we are all individuals, and we will all individually say who we believe can run this city correctly, can run city hall correctly, and this is who I believe is the correct person,” Chance added during the press conference. “I believe you are looking at the future mayor of Chicago.”

CONVERSATIONS