Movie, music and theatre events highlight Black History Month

CHANCE THE RAPPER is always looking out for the community. He and his Social Works Chicago organization are sponsoring Black History Month film screenings at Studio Grill on 87th Street. 

Chance The Rapper’s non-profit launches Black history
month film festival

Chicago’s favorite son Chance the Rapper’s non-profit Social Works Chicago will host an affordable film festival in honor of Black History Month.

Movie-goers can see great movies for $7 at the Studio Grill, located at 210 W. 87th St., in Chicago. Every week will be met with a new showing, including: “Malcolm X” on February 9 and February 10; “Shot in the Dark” on February 12; “Black Panther” on February 16 and “Ali” on February 23 and 24. Audience members will only have to pay $7 per ticket either online or at the door.

The Chicago rapper started Social Works as a way to empower the youth in his hometown. The site asserts that their mission is to help the young people of Chicago “through the arts, education, and civic engagement while fostering leadership, accessibility, and positivity within the youth throughout Chicago.”

For information about the film festival, visit http://www.socialwork-

Park West Theatre

Chicago native T.L. Williams hosts a sneak peek of his new album in “An Evening with T.L. Williams” that will feature live performances, special guests and a bit of a listen to “Love in The 3rd Wave,” which drops on February 16.

T.L. WILLIAMS IS set to drop a new album on February 16. Come out to his release party at the Park West on February 15.

Williams, award-winning Chicago R&B singer and songwriter, will be celebrating the release of his forthcoming LP with a special event on Thursday, February 15, 2018, to be held at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. The ticketed event will feature live performances from Williams and his band, The Storm Chaser Orchestra.

Williams is best known for his 2014 hit, Getting Mo Money Than You, has appeared on the TV show Empire and won a Chicago Music Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2015. In addition to being a successful performer, Williams is also the founder of Symphony Of Change, a local non-profit dedicated to restoring music programs in Chicago schools. Along with his wife, Dandria Williams, who is a talented choreographer at the Joffrey Ballet, Williams has taken his passion for music and directly impacted students in the Chicagoland area by helping local schools change and improve their music programs. By overhauling struggling music programs and providing guidance for future growth, through hands-on teaching and recruitment, Williams has helped to provide a much needed creative outlet for students to express themselves.

Symphony of Change is a division of Infinite Scholars, a non-profit organization founded in 2003 that provides deserving students, and those who are financially-disadvantaged, with the guidance and access to financial resources they need to further their education and pursue college degrees. All profits from “An Evening with T.L. Williams” will go toward both Infinite Scholars and Symphony Of Change.

General admission tickets are available for $25, VIP tickets, with dance floor seating, are $50, and special Meet & Greet tickets can be purchased for $80.

For more information, visit www.-

DePaul University presents Richard Wright’s Native Son

The stage adaptation of Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son’ explores systemic racism in 1930s South Side Chicago. The Theatre School at DePaul University presents the stage adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel “Native Son,” adapted by Theatre School alumna Nambi E. Kelley and directed by graduate student Mikael Burke. The production opens Feb. 9 on the Fullerton Stage, 2350 N. Racine Ave. The Theatre School and DePaul’s Center for Black Diaspora also will host several events in conjunction with the run of “Native Son” to open dialogue on pressing topics.

‘Racism is poison’

The story takes place in 1930s South Side Chicago and explores the systemic racism and poverty that oppressed a young man named Bigger Thomas from birth. Bigger lands a job with a wealthy white family, but his fate is sealed when a violent act unleashes a chain of events that cannot be undone.

“Racism is a poison that destroys everything it touches, and people have to recognize and confront their role in it, whether explicit, implicit or complicit,” says Burke. “What is so genius about the novel and the adaptation is that it is asking us the hard question of those in power: Is Bigger born a black rat, or is his monstrous behavior the result of your treatment of him?”

Burke mentions that dealing with such polarizing issues in a theatrical setting isn’t always easy, but is useful to investigate the hard topics through art.

“Is this difficult to watch? Certainly. Uncomfortable? Absolutely. But it is nonetheless true. And as more Black lives hang in the balance over racist thinking, we should all do what we can to expose and undermine racism, even if that means taking a good hard look in the mirror,” said Burke.

Production and ticket information

The production opens Feb. 9 and runs through Feb. 18. Performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Previews are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 and Feb. 8. The Feb. 11 and Feb. 15 performances will be followed by a post-show discussion. The Feb. 15 performance will also be interpreted in American Sign Language.

Tickets are $15, preview tickets are $10 and student tickets are $5. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 773-325-7900 or by visiting Members of the active military and their families can receive a discount with a valid ID. Patrons with impaired vision or who require wheelchair accessible or companion seating are asked to call the box office. Subscriptions and group rates (six or more people) are available. All tickets are reserved seating.

Dialogue events

Other events in conjunction with the run of “Native Son” include:

Feb. 12, 5 p.m.

Screening of “Black Boy” in The Theatre School, Room 546.

Feb. 13, 5 p.m.

Screening of the 1951 film adaptation of “Native Son,” starring Richard Wright, in The Theatre School, Room 546.

Feb. 14, following the 7:30 p.m. performance of ‘Native Son’

This post-show discussion will be facilitated by Ted Anton, a professor of English at DePaul and chair of the Age Studies Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association.

Feb. 16, following the 7:30 p.m. performance of ‘Native Son’

This post-show discussion on the topic of “Richard Wright, The Expat,” will be facilitated by Juelle Daley, assistant director of DePaul’s Center for Black Diaspora.


Editor’s Note: This event is dear to my heart, as when I was in Paris last spring, I was able to hang out at one of the cafes where Wright, James Baldwin and other members of the royal Black literary scene lingered for hours writing their powerful and enduring works.



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