Culture Crash 18-01: The Chi

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine american culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Screenwriter and actress Lena Waithe won an Emmy last year for her work on Aziz Ansari’s Master of None. This year,  she’s branching out with a show she created called The Chi. The Chi will be set on Chicago’s South Side, the epicenter of the violence crisis happening in the nation’s third biggest city.

Waithe is a Chicago native herself, as her co-producer, the rapper Common. it’s clear they want to shine on a light on some of the real atrocities happening in Chicago, but they also have a palpable love for their hometown. The show is filmed in a way that manages to showcase the bright colors and beautiful street art of Chicago while still displaying the problems that have deep roots in the city.

The show centers on a group of young adults living in Chicago. The opening scene follows a boy on a bike riding around to the energetic music of Chance the Rapper. He cruises around the streets, bargaining for a discounted pop at the local convenience store, and having a pretty carefree day until he comes upon a dead body laying on the street. He checks for a pulse and when the cops come around, he’s in handcuffs before he can even explain what he was doing there.

Though only one episode has been released, The Chi looks to be a promising show with an impressive cast taking on subject matter that is timely and heartbreaking.

The Chi airs Sunday nights on Showtime, starting tonight, January 7. the first episode is available to stream on Showtime’s website or in the Showtime app.     

I’m Evan Rook.

Culture Crash 17-46: Chicago’s Own Chance the Rapper

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17-05 Segment 1: The State of American Cities

chicago downtown and chicago river at night.


Cities, from New York and Chicago to New Orleans and San Francisco, are a vital piece of our country. First, we talk to author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro about the role these cities have come to play in our culture and out lives. Then, we talk to author and former professor William Goldsmith about the problems facing our cities and his ideas on how we can fix them.

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16-11 Segment 1: Character Education For Kids


Synopsis: Character in a person is something we admire, and something we all would like to think that our kids grow up to achieve. But how do you teach them character? What are some of the virtues that go hand-in-hand with character and how can we instill them in our kids? We talk to two people who work with character education efforts to find out how two very different organizations are teaching kids teamwork, responsibility, fairness, friendship and other character traits in some very trying environments.

Host: Gary Price. Guests: Glenn Wilke, Executive Director of the Midtown Educational Foundation, Chicago; Cynthia Levinson, journalist, author of the book, Watch Out for Flying Kids! How two circuses, two countries and nine kids confront conflict and build community.

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click here for the transcript