In 2008, Chicago also known as “Chiraq” garnered public attention when statistics showed that there were more murders in our President’s hometown than Iraq. Since then there’s been several documentaries and special reports on the violence in Chicago. It seemed like everyone jumped on the bandwagon to show fake concern….until now. On January 7th World Star Hip Hop released their version of a special report in the form of “The Field: Violence, Hip-Hop, and Hope in Chicago”: a 40 minute documentary narrated by rappers, gang members, and community activists. I was skeptical about the documentary because World Star isn’t known for thought-provoking material. But after a conversation with my friend I was convinced to watch it. What I saw enlightened and horrified me all at the same time.
This documentary is brilliant because it shows Chicago through the lens of the people directly effected by the violence. It also gave background that may have lead to Chicago’s present state. In 2000, the city decided to tear down all low-income housing in a plan called “The Plan for Transformation.” This act forced tens of thousands of people into the poorest areas of the city. It also forced rival gang members into the same neighbor which has increased the violence. Unfortunately innocent children have been victims in the gun violence. According to the huffigtonpost.com 260 children were killed over a period of 3 years. I knew it was bad in Chicago but those chilling statistics put everything into perspective.
The bright spot in the documentary was the role hip-hop has played in the all of this. Hip-hop has been a way out for Chicago teens for years. Drill music, made popular by King Louie and Chief Keef serves as the soundtrack to the city. Up and comers Lil Bibby, Lil Dirk, and Lil Mouse offer hope for the next generation. Rapper Rhymefest and ex gang members are also doing their part to encourage the youth. It was nice to see to the positivity in the mist of the violence. But I still can’t get those images and statistics out my head. I’m from the Midwest so it’s more than a “story” to me. Those are my brothers and sisters. As we speak I’m trying to figure out what I can do to help. I’m doing my part now by informing everyone about this documentary. I suggest everyone watch it below.