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Chance the Rapper and other artists aim to inspire young voters

Chance the Rapper walks on his way to vote on East Monroe Street after his free block party, "Chance the Rapper's Parade to the Polls," at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park on Nov. 7, 2016. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Chance the Rapper and other Chicago artists including Twin Peaks, Taylor Bennett, Malcolm London and Eryn Allen Kane performed at Grant Park on Monday in hopes of inspiring young people to “stay woke and vote.”

“I came because I like music,” said Anthony Williams, 26, of Downers Grove. “I think this is a good idea for inspiring younger voters. It fits with Chance’s image. He’s always doing something like this.”

Williams said he is registered to vote, but he did not plan on voting early. He is still conflicted about his choice for president.

Chance, whose birth name is Chancellor Bennett, originally planned for his “Parade to the Polls” event to take place at the main entrance of Virgin Hotels Chicago, but after a fast increase in interest the event was moved to the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, 235 S. Columbus.

The event was hosted by his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks, and brought in Chicagoans from all over the city.


Volunteers from SocialWorks were handing out poster boards and markers for fans to make their own signs as they listened to the concert. Jose Santana and Pedro Garcia, both 18, from Albany Park, were two of the fans who took advantage of this offering. Garcia wrote “give Hillary a chance” on his sign.

“I think these kind of events can be really effective,” Santana said, although he plans to vote on Tuesday and not with the parade. “Sometimes young people are too timid to go vote, this could show them that it’s worth it.”

Although Chance has openly campaigned for Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton in the past, there was not a whisper about the candidate by any of the performers.

“This whole event is a nonpartisan event,” Chance said to the crowd. “We’re not celebrating any particular candidate.”

At 5:40 p.m., the get-out-the-vote event ended with a march to the closest polling place at 15 W. Washington St., which closed its doors for the day at 7 p.m.