In the face of tragedy, suffering and adversity, it is utterly disturbing that we have a leader who continues to ignite the fuel of division and racism. In the last few weeks, Americans have dealt with incredible forces of nature beyond our control in the wake of three major Hurricanes—Harvey, Irma and Maria. In the latest catastrophic disaster to the Caribbean islands, which dissipated Barbados, St. Marten to Puerto Rico, the bureaucratic red tape has been “frustrating” to say the least.

Chicago has the second-largest Puerto Rican population to New York City on the U.S. mainland. Its residents are U.S. citizens and they are not “randoms” with their hands held out for assistance—they are part of our country. The growing desperation from family members to get the necessary aid to loved ones on the island is “life or death” at this point.

The country was instantly stunned by a tragedy that took the lives of 59 people and injured 527 concert goers attending the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on Sunday night. Will this latest event be a wake-up call for NRA lobbyists and supporters to put in stricter federal regulations for gun control? Trump added Las Vegas to his travel itinerary on Wednesday after assessing the damage to Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Rev. Jesse Jackson and State Rep. Luis Arroyo along with the help of local organizations—have secured a way to transport items via 12 semi-truck and a commercial airline to the distraught island.

After an emotional opening dialogue on Monday, late night show ABC host Jimmy Kimmel did not mince his words about the lives lost. The NRA has politicians’ “balls in a money clip” said Jimmy Kimmel. Fifty-Six Republican U.S Senators did not vote for gun control, and he says it is time for Americans to make their voice known to local politicians.

Rauner’s Latest Moves

On the home front, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signing of HB40 last week was a move that was unprecedented by a Republican governor. The Illinois House Bill will allow women protection against potential federal restrictions on reproductive rights such as access to abortion and other related medical assistance. Advocates of Pro Choice are commending Rauner for this latest stand against anti-abortionists who feel the Illinois governor broke his promise to conservative voters and groups.

Hmmm…is he the man you love to hate or hate to love? Election time is right around the corner.

Down South Tradition in the Windy City?

The Chicago Football Classic weekend was a major success bringing out HBCU schools Grambling State University (GSU) and Clark Atlanta University (CAU). Co-founders Tim Rand, Everett Rand and Larry Huggins hosted the school’s football teams, marching bands, and alumni organizations along with one of the largest college fairs prior to the game. The Chicago Cubs’ HBCU Day at Wrigley Field was the day before the big game and it too was a blast. Shout out to the team’s VP of Communications Julian Green (Alabama A&M) for overseeing the special day, which brought out HBCU alums, live music by our DJs Vince Adams (FAMU) and Mark Fuller (JSU); post-game entertainment by indie artist J Kwest and the battle of the bands. Thank you, Julian, for another cool collectible t-shirt too!

NBC-5 Chicago executive Emma Asanta and CFC honoree, Josephine Wade.

At Friday night’s President’s reception at the South Shore Cultural Center, long-time restaurant owner and community matriarch Josephine Wade was honored by CFC. She was escorted to the stage by former Mayor Emanuel aid and Chance the Rapper’s dad, Ken Bennett. I had the pleasure of sitting at media partner’s NBC-5 Chicago’s table where I met the station’s new VP of Special Projects and Community Relations, Emma Asante. Look out for some wonderful, future community initiatives from Ms. Asante!

This year’s CFC game was the largest attended game in a long time with an estimated 40,000 attendees. In addition to Classic Football tradition, Soldier Field’s South Lot was jammed packed with tailgating and the smell of BBQ smoke blazing the sky. It was truly a beautiful sight to witness—collegiate and Greek pride with the Chicago skyline as our backdrop.

A “Chance” To Suite Hop Anyone?

Chance the Rapper hung out as a guest of the CFC in the President’s suite. The four-time Grammy winner shared his interest in attending Clark Atlanta University on twitter and was graciously introduced to CAU President Dr. Ronald A. Johnson. The two men had a good conversation, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a trip to the school’s campus in the near future.

DJ Self

Celebrity DJ and Love & Hip Hop (New York) cast member DJ Self stopped by the Chicago Defender suites for a quick bite and insightful interview. Big ups to the managers Brian and Lauren for producing another successful hot SOCIETY party at the House of Blues.

Between the CFC festivities and weekend-long alumni events, the highlight of the game is always the special “suite-hopping.” If you’re lucky enough to snag a pass to be a guest, then you probably witnessed some political “hob knobbing” and quiet deal-making among the “ballers” and “shot callers.”

CAU Panthers lost to the Grambling State University Tigers 31-20. Make sure to visit: Chicagodefender.com for photo highlights of the weekend.

Latino Fashion Week

Fashion Rules Chicago

Across town, fashion ruled the runway at the 11th Latino Fashion Week at Block Thirty-Seven. For three days, fashion designers, models and supporters were featured in the built-out space—specifically created to present a high-end environment of style and creative vision. Co-founders Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon, Jr. showcased designers including Maison Minc Sisters. Wrapping up on Saturday night, one of LFW’s highlights was ComEd’s special lit-up dress inspired by the company’s Solar Spotlight. Fidel Marquez, ComEd SVP of Governmental and External Affairs, was on hand to introduce the presentation on the company’s commitment to STEM and the arts.

In addition, LFW has committed to Chicago’s relief efforts to Puerto Rico through collaborations with its sponsors and community partners.

On Sunday night, Surround Sound of Fashion had a SOLD-OUT crowd at the Logan Center for the Arts. Happy belated birthday (9/30) to the event creator, Nathan Gilbert, who brought out young, Black and gifted models, fashion curators, Urban media, bloggers and tastemakers to enjoy a night of fun. There was a live performance by Def Jam recording artist Dave West and Young Wayne hosted the event.

WGCI on-air personality Frankie Robinson

Birthday Shout-outs

Happy belated birthday wishes to broadcast radio producer Courtney Scott; Power 92’s Music Director Barbara ‘Bam’ McDowell on Oct.1.  Executive Director of Mamie Till-Mosely Foundation Airicka Gordan-Taylor, 20th Ward Alderman Willie Cochran, and Revolt TV executive Kelly G. on Oct. 2. Chicago visual artist Candace Hunter; David Taylor on Oct. 4. Pamela Jones-Willis; DuSable Museum Event Director Tracey Williams; WGCI on-air personality Frankie Robinson on Oct. 5. Lifestyle blogger Chelsea Harvey and music industry veteran Carter Russell on Oct. 9.

In Memoriam

Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out the family of John Coleman, Jr., the father of 106.3 radio personality and favorite club DJ Lil John Coleman. Please keep them in your thoughts and send them a line. Lil John is a wonderful and awesome guy so let’s show him some love and support.

Homegoing Services will be held October 14.

St. Michael Missionary Baptist Church

4106 W Monroe

Chicago, Il 60624

Wake 10 am

Funeral 11 am

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