Chicago rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith has explained his motivation behind running for alderman of the 20th Ward in his Illinois hometown.
After weeks of speculation, Fest turned the rumors into fact at a public meeting in Chicago.
“The priority is to return the community back into the hands of the people who live here,” Smith said, making his announcement Thursday inside Exclusively Yours Auto Spa, a South Side full-service car wash and detailing business. “For too long our communities have been dictated to. For too long our communities have been told what’s going to happen.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
Fest also stressed the importance of supporting his fellow citizens.
Smith says he hopes to lead a renaissance in a community that’s dotted with empty lots and boarded-up businesses and plagued by unemployment and crime. He says he wants to make it easier for people to invest in the community and expand businesses, which would spur the hiring of local residents. He did not give specifics. (Washington Post)
Members from Fest’s family also showed their backing of him at the event.
Smith said his grandmother, a Woodlawn resident who stood with him Thursday, related stories of “a Cottage Grove and a King Drive that she walked down and people said hello to each other.” Not, he said, a neighborhood where he is fearful of sending his 12-year-old son, Solomon, to the park. His son and daughter Amirah, 2, were among the crowd of supporters who gathered at the local car detailing shop at which he announced his candidacy. “This is the ward that we are going to take back for the people who live here,” Smith said. “We are the 20th Ward, and we will reclaim our greatness.” (Chicago Tribune)
An alderman is responsible for holding a position in city council.
“Board of Aldermen” is the governing executive or legislative body of many cities and towns in the United States. The term is sometimes used instead of city council, or is used of an executive board independent of the council, or is used of what amounts to an upper house of a bicameral legislature (as it was in New York City until the 20th Century). Its members are called “Alderman” or “Alderwoman” (Wikipedia)
Check out Rhymefest’s “Reunite Chicago” campaign below: