After hosting a free concert in Chicago’s Grant Park, Chance the Rapper led hundreds of Chicagoans to an early voting site on Monday night (November 7). The concert, called Parade to the Polls, featured performances by Chance, Malcolm London and oddCouple, among others. Following the music, Chance, 23, announced, “We are going to have a very cool—very peaceful, but very lit—march."
Produced by his new non-profit organization, SocialWorks, Parade to the Polls was billed as nonpartisan. Yet the multiracial crowd erupted in a chorus of “fuck Donald Trump,” while marching to the polling place on Dearborn and Washington. Hundreds stood in a line that snaked around the corner. Event organizers handed out ballots to the crowd and Chicago police officers on bicycles rerouted oncoming traffic by blocking off the street.
Many in the crowd were first-time voters who were drawn to the event because they admire Chicago-born Chance. “I grew up listening to the guy,” said Osa Obaseki, a senior at Columbia College and an aspiring rapper. “He’s definitely impacting people—this is my first time voting.”
Monday night’s event, which was hash tagged #ParadeToThePolls, was not the rapper’s first foray into electoral politics. In late September, he partnered with the NAACP and the #StayWokeandVote campaign by registering voters at his Magnificent Coloring Day festival. Last Friday (November 4), Chance joined Jay Z and Beyoncé onstage at a Hillary Clinton rally in Cleveland.
Symone Latham, a 22-year-old who learned about Parade to the Polls on social media in yesterday afternoon, described voting as "part of what makes our country what it is.”
“I just want to make sure I’m being represented in my government,” said Latham, before entering the voting booth last night.
Marianna Brady is a freelance journalist and graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. You can follow her on Twitter: @mqbrady and Snapchat: @mariannabrady.