The Chi (A Chicagoan’s Review)

As we all know, the new Showtime series, The Chi, has made its debut. I initially watched in December, when the premiere episode was released early, but decided to wait until the second episode to provide a review. During that time, a review came out that actually captures most of my thoughts, here.

For the most part, I agree with the points that the writer made. Points that I would like to echo are:

1. As a Westsider who grew up in the North Lawndale community, I definitely appreciate her pointing out that Chicago is more than the Southside. Whenever we hear news of the violence in Chicago the spotlight is always on the Southside, but it is just as bad, if not worst, on Chicago’s Westside. Not to compare pain or trauma, because the entire city hurts, but that’s the point–the entire city is in pain and that needs to be recognized.

2. I didn’t mind the opening music being from Chance the Rapper; he’s homegrown and we all love him. However, I do agree that some other local artists would help to give the show more authenticity. Perhaps G Herbo or Chief Keef or Lil Durk, I mean there are other options. In addition, I also feel that the initial character “Coogie” seemed out of place. Not to say that children who look like him don’t exist in Chicago, but he would be an anomaly, not the norm. He feels a little too west coast to truly be a Southsider. The description provided in the article cited above actually does a great job of summarizing how you would probably see teens dressed today in Chicago.

3. The fact that a Greenline train was pulling into a Pinkline station was just plain disrespectful. As a Chicago native, it was a bit insulting.

Overall, what’s missing for me, and I’m hoping to see develop in future episodes, are pieces that make it feel like a genuine Chicago experience. When I watch the show I feel that it could be taking place in any major urban area in America. If that’s the case, just name the show The Hood. However, if the true goal is to humanize the people of Chicago, then I need to feel like I’m in Chicago. I have high hopes so I’m not writing the show off yet, but I do expect a bit more than what I’ve seen.

-Ms. Malcolm Hughes

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