Chicago episode of VH1 digital docuseries ‘Growing Up Black’ premieres today

The YouTube show features a Grammy-winning songwriter, a WGCI-FM radio personality, and a West Side-raised journalist, among others, who speak on nuances of growing up Black in Chicago.

SHARE Chicago episode of VH1 digital docuseries ‘Growing Up Black’ premieres today
Spotify’s RapCaviar Live in Chicago

South Side native and rapper G Herbo is featured in the VH1 doc-series “Growing Up Black:Chicago.”

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A VH1 docu-series that looks into the lives of America’s Black diaspora in cities across the country now features an episode explaining the nuances of Black life in Chicago.

Growing Up Black: Chicago,” which premiered Tuesday on VH1’s YouTube Channel, features Black Chicagoans from various walks of life explaining their upbringing, generational trauma, Chicago stereotypes, racism, segregation, gun violence, gentrification, Chicago’s impact on popular culture, and the many trials and tribulations associated with living in the city. 

Some of the interview subjects of the docuseries’ fifth installment include South Chicago rapper G Herbo; Grammy-winning songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith’ The Triibe co-founder and editor-in-chief Tiffany Walden; WGCI-FM radio personality Trey White; six-time Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter BJ The Chicago Kid; JaSaun Buckner, the president of the board of directors of the South Side-based dance studio Mayfair Academy, and activist and entrepreneur Ja’Mal Green, among others. 

October 7, 1983 photo of Mayor Harold Washington at Comiskey Park as he throws out the first ball for the White Sox’ first home game in the AL playoffs. | Sun-Times Library

Harold Washington, Chicago first Black mayor.

John H. White/Sun-Times

The episode also discusses some historical figures including gang organization leaders Jeff Fort and Larry Hoover, educator and historian Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Chicago’s first non-indigenous settler Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, and Harold Washington, the city’s first Black mayor, along with another legendary part of Chicago: the weather. 

Each subject discusses the people who shaped their experiences and the changes they would like to see in the city.

For instance, Smith describes Donda West, Chicago State professor and the mother of rapper and producer Kanye West, as “one of the greatest teachers of my personal life,” and Walden, a West Side native, discussed the lack of people of color — particularly Black reporters — within the demographics of the city’s mainstream media outlets, while demanding that the city stop treating the West Side like the “ugly stepchild of the city.” White says the city’s mayor should be a Chicago native. (Mayor Lori Lightfoot is from Ohio.)

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