Over the weekend, IL State Treasurer Michael Frerichs hosted a town hall meeting at Hartzell United Methodist Church in the Bronzeville community. Moderating the panel discussion, Treasurer Frerichs lead the conversation among key lawmakers and public officials. Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, Alderman Sophia King, Alderman Pat Dowell, State Rep. Juliana Stratton, State Rep. Barbara Flynn-Currie, State Senator Kwame Raoul and State Representative Christian Mitchell each had a few minutes  to address attendees on policies and legislation.

Senator Raoul Takes The Gloves Off

IL State Senator Kwame Raoul

The all-Democratic panel was relieved at having a state budget passed and both State Rep. Stratton and State Senator Raoul did a great job giving a breakdown of the services and programs saved to the myth of a 32 percent income tax increase. Although Raoul did throw some shade at a political consultant-turned-morning show host. Not happy with the host’s colorful approach to political commentary, the Senator said there may be some people in the community who appear to be neutral, including some “black voices.” He went on to say, “These voices may say, ‘What’s in it for the Black people?’ The real question is, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Follow the dollar, follow the dollar because those dollars are tripled in some of those people’s pockets,” said Raoul.

Check out a snippet of the video here.

Folks, this is just the beginning. It’s real out here in these streets.

Cowboy Shorties

Meanwhile, be on the lookout for 6-year-old to 9-year-old kids shaking down people at gunpoint around the low-end. Yes, I said the low-end and if you’re from the South Side, it still exists. There have been several reported muggings in the 2900 S. State and 2900 S. King Dr. vicinity in the last week. WTF? Really, so now we have to worry about our kids. Where are the parents? These crimes are occurring at night between 9 p.m. to midnight, with a couple incidents in the early evening part. Keep your eyes and ears open and hopefully these shorties will be caught without lives lost.

O’Jays frontman, Eddie Levert performs at The Taste of Chicago, July 9, 2017. PHOTO: Mary L. Datcher

Improvements Needed

The Taste of Chicago wrapped up on Sunday with the legendary O’Jays as the headline talent. A third member of the iconic group was out sick, Walter Williams.

The front man and original member Eddie Levert and Eric Grant carried the show with a non-stop list of the group’s catalog. Sunday’s turnout was one of the better days for the 5-day food and music festival. Every year, the number of food vendors has been reduced down and it’s not a good look.

This year’s music line-up was lukewarm compared to the last three years with past artists Eryka Badu, The Roots, and Chance the Rapper lighting up Grant Park. Long lines on Saturday and Sunday made attendees frustrated in the heat as some people ended up giving away their tickets. If one million attendees came down to this year’s Taste of Chicago, somebody needs to go back to school because their math is totally off.

Neighborhood Festivals RULE

Neighborhood festivals are a welcomed relief for Chicagoans who hate fighting the tourists and suburban attendees at the Taste. Kudos to the organizers of West Fest  and DuSable’s 43rd Annual DuSable Museum Arts & Crafts Festival. West Fest was held in East Urkanian Village (sorry, I can’t adapt to the name West Town) on Chicago Avenue between Wood Street and Damen Avenue. It was filled with food trucks, pet and kid’s fest sections along with two live music stages and live DJ sets from some of my favorite House DJs: Jevon Jackson, DJ Heather, Lady D. and others.

On the other side of town, DuSable’s Arts & Crafts Festival was off the chain! A great selection of vendors showcasing African art, jewelry, paintings, clothes and great food to go. It was definitely one of the best family events to enjoy in a safe and peaceful environment with music by Maurice Culpepper and more.

Hot, Dope & Cool Picks

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

The 47th Rainbow PUSH Coalition Convention is in full throttle this week, kicking off on Wednesday. This is one of the best conferences bringing various professionals together from the business, technology, political, health, education, entertainment and sports world. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and the PUSH committees do a wonderful job producing the 5-day event at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Some program highlights include Tech Expo, PUSH Excel Scholarship dinner on Wednesday; Thursday’s Ministers’ Luncheon with musical guest Smokie Norful and the Sports Banquet Roundtable dinner that evening. On Friday, the Women’s International Luncheon featuring Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. To register, visit: rainbowpush.org

One of my favorite summer highlights is The 14th Annual Silver Room Sound System Block Party | WE SPEAK taking place on Saturday, July 15. The all-day event is produced by the staff and Silver Room owner Eric Williams. It is truly a labor of love, sweat and dedication. It takes place from noon to 10 p.m. at Harper Court in downtown Hyde Park along the 53rd Street business corridor.

Live performances, DJs, food vendors and select participating businesses will feature music and fun. To make donations to the GoFundMe page, visit: thesilverroomblockparty.com

Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off Friday, July 14 through July 16 in Union Park with three days of non-stop music and electric intensity. There’s some great shows for everyone who is looking to turn for some EDM, Hip Hop, Rock or alternative Soul sounds. Bring some comfortable shoes because heels and sequins are not part of the park experience. On Friday, Danny Brown and LCD Soundsystem kicks off the festival and one of my favorite bands will be taking the stage on Saturday with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Tribe Called Quest will be performing in Chicago since the passing of Phife Dawg as Saturday’s headliner. Love, love, love this group. On Sunday, hometown faves Derrick Carter and Jamila Woods tear up the Blue stage while Beyonce’s little sister, Solange, brings her grown woman swag as the headliner on the Green stage.

The Taste of WVON fires up another year of community engagement from local small businesses and corporate “give back” at this Saturday, July 15 at Lorraine Dixon Park. The free event will feature great bands and live entertainment with a special tribute to Al Jarreau; the soulful sounds of Rose Royce and El DeBarge. Make sure to bring your lawn chairs and set up early because it will be jammed packed. This is a special treat for the Chatham community and Midway Broadcasting does a stellar job producing the growing festival. Meet the radio personalities and hear live broadcasts taking place throughout the day

Birthday Shout-Outs

Whoo-hoo! It’s that time and Cancers are feeling the heat as we celebrate their birthdays. One of Chicago’s favorite adopted sons, ABC-7 anchorman and journalist Hosea Sanders celebrates on July 12 along with veteran record promotions consultant Marlo Martin-Jackson and Erica Hubbard. Founder of the Chicago Music Awards, Ephraim Martin; celebrity and fashion photographer Parrish Lewis and former publicist David Nobel celebrate July 13. Chicago native and platinum producer Legendary Traxster turns up the music on July 14. DJ and popular soundman Dennis Brady; Rob Smooth and artist manager Phil Edwards share a birthday on July 15. Chicago power players, Navy Pier’s Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer Michelle Boone and Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) kick up their heels on July 17.

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