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  • Erica Ponder

Inner City Beauty & Blues: Lena Waithe hits home with daily struggles, complex stories in new Sh

By: Erica M. Ponder

Award-winning producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe does her hometown of Chicago justice as she embodies innocent humanity and everyday struggles of the inner city in her new Showtime series The Chi.

The new drama, which officially airs on Jan. 7, gives viewers a beautiful, yet raw peak into the world of young black boys and men from the city’s south side, as well as the women in their lives, as they battle their own personal conflicts while trying to hold on to the hope of pushing past their current circumstances. While everything isn’t always peaches and cream, these characters are still in the process of becoming, even if the process is painful.

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“The show is about what it means to be black and human and trying to survive on the South Side of Chicago,” Waithe said in a Chicago Tribune interview. “Being a black person in America is exhausting. And I think we still live in a world where I don’t know if we’re seen as fully fledged human beings. I think people still have ideas of who we are, so that’s where the show came from.”

And as if the anticipation wasn’t already high after viewing the first episode on YouTube, we found out that one of our favorite Chi-Town natives, rapper and songwriter Common, is an executive producer for the series.

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With stellar performances from Jason Mitchell from Straight Outta Compton, Jahking Guillory from KICKS, and Alex R. Hibbert from Moonlight, the series is bound to be a hit.

Shoutout to Waithe for her undeniable talent and knack for creating beautiful art while showing viewers people we all can relate to, no matter their socioeconomic status.

Take a look at the first full episode of The Chi here. Be sure to tune in this Sunday at 10 p.m./9 p.m. CT!


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