Chicago Beat Blog

How “Brown Girls” Helps Us Better Understand Identity

How “Brown Girls” Helps Us Better Understand Identity

Written by Christian Sanchez, Marlena Wadley and Tanya Munoz 
photos via RJ Eldridge

On Wednesday (February 15), Chicago Art Department hummed with chatter and laughter while people lined up outside waiting for the premiere of the web series Brown Girls. Written by Fatimah Asghar and directed by Sam Bailey, Brown Girls is a story based on Asghar’s life. Centered around two brown women, Leila and Patricia are trying to settle into their identities and careers while being each other’s shoulder and combing out the kinks.

Asghar is no stranger to writing or performing; in 2015, she published her own book, AFTER, a number of poems that truthfully explore the aftermath of an abusive relationship. In 2015 she also delivered a TED talk, “We Own All The Language In The World” about poetry being a powerful...

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Crossing the Street Bring Positivity & Creativity to Chicago’s Youth

Crossing the Street Bring Positivity & Creativity to Chicago’s Youth

Written by Marlena Wadley, Nick Dimas, Tanya Munoz and Tommy Brannigan
photos via YCA

Maurice Swinney, the principal of Tilden High School on the South Side, decided to move to Chicago after he heard the poem “Lost Count” by Nate Marshall, Demetrius Amparan, and Deja Taylor.

That poem—written by three then-high school students—focuses on corruption in the school system, police misconduct, and violence. Swinney wanted to be a part of the solution, explaining why it’s so surreal to be leading the high school that serves as the starting point for the Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) festival each year.

“To have LTAB start here, and knowing I was inspired to move here because of HBO’s Brave New Voices special, seeing Demetrius and Nathaniel, it was really good; it was so rich. It was inspiring and painful,” Swinney said. “They had to...

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A Review of Noname's Sold Out Telefone Tour

A Review of Noname's Sold Out Telefone Tour

Written by Marlena Wadley
photo via Noname

Upon arrival, The Metro was filled with a swarm of fans dying to see Chicago rapper Noname bless the stage at the first sold out hometown show of the Telefone tour. With acts Akenya and Ravyn Lenae opening the show, The Metro was a booming spectrum of Chicago talent.

I arrived in the middle of Akenya’s set, whose voice would make anyone wonder who she is, if they didn’t already. After a stretched interval of reggae elevator music, Ravyn gave the crowd a fun and boisterous performance, opening with her song “Greetings.” A mix of twists, shimmies, and whining, you could tell she was carefree and enjoying her performance just as much as her spectators. Her soft melodious voice touched ...

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