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Why Chance the Rapper Doesn’t Talk About Rahm Emanuel Publicly

“I don’t really follow Rahm’s politics, and the things that I have followed I wasn’t necessarily down to align myself with.”

Chance the Rapper   Photo: Lenny Gilmore

Over the last few days,  film director Spike Lee and hip-hop star Chance the Rapper have been trading words over Lee’s latest movie, Chi-Raq. Chance, a Chatham native, released a string of passionate tweets last Friday, the day of the film’s national release. See below.

In return, Lee clapped back on MSNBC, saying, “First of all, Chance the Rapper should say full disclosure: his father works for the mayor. His father is the chief of staff. Show me any criticism. If you’re so concerned about Chicago, do your research, show me where he’s made criticisms about the mayor. I think your finds will be surprising. He’s not criticized the mayor. Why? His father works for the mayor.”

Chance’s father, Ken Bennett, serves as the deputy chief of staff and director for Mayor Emanuel’s office of public engagement. And actually, Chance already has answered whether he feels comfortable expressing his political views because of his father’s job.

When I interviewed Chance for the magazine’s December issue cover story, I asked him whether he felt like he had to censor himself because of his father’s job. Here’s what he had to say:

No. You always have to separate what part of it is your job and what part of it is your person. And for me, I have a 24 hour a day job, but I still have to turn it off sometimes. And my dad views work as work; work is what you do to feed your family.

My dad has been a chief advisor and a campaign manager and in positions of having to tell people that are in power that what they’re doing is fucked up. My dad is also just a very vocal man and a big presence in Chicago in a positive way, but my dad has always tried to make sure that I’m not really aligned with anybody politically. Me and my dad have a family relationship, we don’t have a business relationship. …

Being from the family that I’m from, not just from my dad but from my grandmother and my great-grandmother, who marched with King—just my social standing as a person of influence, I have things that I have to take care of, things that I have to do. Personally, I don’t really comment on that many things dealing with Rahm because I don’t really follow Rahm’s politics, and the things that I have followed I wasn’t necessarily down to align myself with.

There you have it, Spike. Make of that what you will. 

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