An Open Letter to Chance the Rapper From Chicago Students: 'You're More Than Just an Artist to Us, You Are a Way of Life'
Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper donated a million dollars to Chicago Public Schools on March 6, following major funding and budget cuts for public schools in the city – giving students a chance to reach their fullest academic potential, while at the same time inspiring a generation of kids who are watching their music idol’s every move.
As a product of CPS, stressing that our schools need funding more than ever is extremely crucial, and while violence is frighteningly high in Chicago, kids need more creative outlets and doors opened, not shut.
In an open letter to Chance the Rapper, three Hispanic CPS 10th graders from Lake View High School thank the rapper for his continuous support of Chicago students.
First and foremost, we as Chicago Public School students would like to thank you for the supportive donation to our schools. As we all know, CPS has been struggling financially, and your donation has really given us a push to get to where we need to be and possibly motivate others to give back to the community as well. This is only one of the many things that you have done to improve our Chicago.
After you gave CPS the push that was needed to help give us students what we deserve, you encouraged other celebrities such as Derrick Rose to do so as well. If this goes on, CPS could be saved and our schools could receive the best educational experience we are worthy of. You are one of the reasons this can be made possible.
All of the things that you do for our city never go unnoticed. All of the free concerts you host and all the time you spend here in the city really show you care. We notice it. We look up to you because the fame usually takes humility away from artists, but it hasn’t changed you.
There are many big celebrities from Chicago, but you are one of the few that really give back. It is evident that you sincerely care for the youth here. This is why you are an inspiration to us. We appreciate you for not only representing us through your music, but also through your actions.
In Chicago, a person is shot every 2 hours and 48 minutes. A person is murdered every 14 hours and 27 minutes, and you helped stop gun violence in Chicago for 42 hours with the help of your Twitter account and various Chicago radio stations. Even though this was three years ago, the fact you had such a tremendous impact on Chicago shows how much the people of this city look up to you.
You’re more than just an artist to us, you are a way of life. You make music that we can relate to on many levels, because you know what living in Chicago is like, and you want to make changes in the city. We may not be from the same side but we come from the same city. We just want to thank you for not forgetting where you came from and helping the city of Chicago in more ways than just being an inspirational rapper. You’re using your fame for good and not just to look good. You gave $1 million dollars of your personal money to Chicago schools and that’s something no one has done for us.
We thank you for supporting Chicago’s minority youth when not many others have put time to think about the kids. As minority students we feel ignored and as though we don’t have enough support from bigger influences like you. Being born and raised in Chicago is not easy at all. There are so many stereotypes and restrictions we have as teenagers due to the frequent violence and crimes. Your music puts some at ease because we know that someone cares and someone has experienced these daily struggles too. You and your music have taught us that you can be true to yourself and still be successful, still be self-made.
Once again, thank you for aiding us and giving something back to the city we know and love, Chicago.
Alex Rojas, Alondra Cerros, and Annelisse Betancourt
On this day in music history: February 1, 1969 - “Crimson And Clover” by Tommy James & The Shondells hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Tommy James and Peter Lucia, it is the second chart topping single for the band fronted by singer and songwriter Tommy James. The song is recorded with James playing most of the instruments accompanied by bassist Mike Vale and drummer/co-writer Lucia. For the crowning touch, James plugs a microphone into an Ampeg guitar amplifier and sings through it with the tremolo setting turned on. WLS in Chicago is the first radio station in the US to air the record. Roulette Records ends up releasing the original rough mix of the song after the overwhelmingly positive response from listeners. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on December 14, 1968, it leaps to the top seven weeks later. It becomes Tommy James & The Shondells’ biggest single, selling over five million copies worldwide. For the album version of the track, additional instrumental passages are recorded and spliced into the track, to give it an even “trippier and psychedelic” feel. “Crimson And Clover” is covered by a number of artists over the years including Prince and by Joan Jett And The Blackhearts whose version peaks at #7 on the Hot 100 in June of 1982.
Ruth Terry was born Ruth McMahon in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1920. She got her start in show business as a child when she would sing with the band in a dance hall where her father worked as a bouncer. She began entering amateur talent contests in the local area, and her beautiful singing voice resulted in her winning many of them. When she was in fourth grade her parents decided that she would embark on a professional singing career, and to that end took her out of school (her education continued with private teachers).
She kept winning talent contests, and later became part of a vaudeville act called The Capps Family and Ruthie Mae. She eventually won a spot singing on a Chicago radio station, then she got her own 15-minute time slot on a station in South Bend, Indiana.
At 12 years of age she won a contract to sing with a prestigious Chicago musical group, The Paul Ash Chicago Theater Orchestra. After that engagement she went to New York and got a job as a song plugger for composer Irving Berlin, who was a friend of her aunt’s. She eventually got her own nightclub act–changing her name to Ruth Terry at the suggestion of gossip columnist Walter Winchell–and soon headed to Miami, where she was engaged to sing at several prestigious nightspots and hotels, and while there she was spotted by talent scouts from 20th Century-Fox. In 1937 she was playing in Chicago with bandleader Ted Lewis when Fox offered her a contract–and all this while she was barely 16 years old.
She was brought to Hollywood by Fox and given diction and acting lessons, and the studio soon put her in her first picture, Concession internationale (1938), although she only had one line. She stayed with Fox for two more years, until she was dropped in 1939. In 1940 she was signed by Howard Hughes, who eventually sold her contract to Republic Pictures.
It was at Republic where she began making westerns, a genre in which she would spend a lot of time. She made westerns with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers andRobert Livingston, among others. Her contract with Republic ended in 1947, and she made only one other film, for Columbia, before retiring. She soon married, for a second time, and she and her husband moved to Canada. The marriage ended in 1957, and she moved back to the US. In 1962, as a favor to a friend, she did a small part in a low-budget horror film, Hand of Death (1962).
Driving home from lunch with my family today I heard “Chicago” on the radio, the DJ may have been referencing the city or the band. Regardless both my jobs corporate offices are held in Chicago and this is a great band that I have yet to post. Initially “25 or 6 to 4” which I remember the first moment I ever heard was in 5th grade popped into my head being a long time favorite. But after shoveling pounds of ice out of my drive way…. I need some summer.