Former CPS Student Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith Talks Chicago School Board Run

Che Rhymefest Smith (Photo Provided).

Writer, rapper, artist, activist, entrepreneur, teacher and leader—these words aptly describe Che “Rhymefest” Smith. 

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Rhymefest’s life is deeply intertwined with the city’s rich culture. Having attended Bryn Mawr Elementary School (later renamed Bouchet Academy) and graduating from South Shore High School, Rhymefest’s educational journey provided firsthand insight into the strengths and challenges of Chicago Public Schools.

Growing up in Chicago presented its difficulties, yet Rhymefest fondly recalls a pivotal moment during his schooling when a security guard’s words of encouragement altered his life’s trajectory. This moment inspired him to pursue his talent in rap, eventually leading to his success as an award-winning recording artist, humanitarian, actor and community advocate.

Today, Rhymefest has an impressive array of accolades, including two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, and a Soul Train Award—all while remaining rooted in the South Side community and mentally “leaving the hood but staying in the community.”  

He uplifts and empowers others to pursue their dreams and effect positive change within their neighborhoods. As the Co-Founder of Chicago nonprofit Art of Culture (formerly Donda’s House Inc.), he continues his tireless efforts to improve the lives of the city’s youth. 

Looking ahead, Rhymefest aims to leverage his diverse passions, including music and youth advocacy, by seeking a seat on the Chicago Public Schools School Board. In the upcoming 2024 elections, he aspires to contribute his leadership and vision to ensure equitable education opportunities for all students. 

With a commitment to preserving arts programs, addressing mental health challenges, combating online bullying and fostering holistic family engagement in education, Rhymefest envisions a brighter future for Chicago’s youth and families.

Rhymefest sits down with the Chicago Defender to discuss his Chicago School Board journey: 

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