Nikko Washington's contours and contrasts are something to behold. He's a painter, clothing designer, and Hyde Park native, whose work has covered the albums of many of Chicago's finest, including Kami, Noname, Joey Purp, Vic Mensa, Towkio and many more. He has a new exhibition, entitled Saturn, going up this friday at the Adidas Originals store in Wicker Park.
At the intersection of art, culture, social justice, and community building, Kuumba Lynx produces The Chicago Hip Hop Theater Fest (CHHTF). The fest features nine different performing artists/companies presenting 12 different shows over five days. CHHTF is curated by Kuumba Lynx Co-Founders Jaquanda Villegas and Jacinda Bullie in an effort to reclaim public space, and cultivate a community building & performance space that reflects the communities we represent. The fest utilizes critical Hip Hop Theater to engage in a dialogue that aims to rewrite our narratives, reimagine the world more just, and connect people across communities. AirGo sits down with several of the presenters and participants to talk about their creative works, perspectives on the fest, and more!
Brendan Shiller is fighting. He is one of the founders of the West Side Justice Center, and is a co-partner in the law firm Shiller Preyar LLC, serving the needs and legal battles of the divested from and disenfranchised across the city. He is the lead attorney for the #NoCopAcademy Campaign, which was rumbling through City Hall last week in opposition to the $95 million proposed project to be built in West Garfield Park.
Matt Muse is a rapper, producer and YCA teaching artist who's working hard. Constantly performing on stages across the city and on the road, his work ethic and confident baritone has opened doors as he continues to push his craft and career. His new project, Nappy Talk, is coming ASAP–he had a listening party this past week at YCA.
This week's episode is the product of a partnership between your friendly neighborhood producers here at AirGo and Real Chi Youth, the newsroom at Free Spirit Media, a nonprofit organization based in North Lawndale. We worked with this wonderful squad of reporters between 20 and 25 years old to build a new, humanizing, deep dive into the stories they were covering, bringing subject-to-subject dialogue into a traditional news space. The result is In the Loop, Out the Blue, a new podcast. Enjoy the first episode!
Hilda Franco, in this moment, is the culmination of every day, month, and year she has grown through up to this point–as are we all. She wants to make sure we don't forget that. The educator, scholar, facilitator, and culture worker focuses on the pervasiveness and impact of adultism in our schools, communities, policies, and culture-at-large. A former staff member at the Chicago Freedom School, Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy, and other educational spaces, she currently works as a coordinator and consultant for CPS's Student Voice Committee. Hilda is also a member of the Hoodoisie, the block-optic news discussion show founded by Ricardo Gamboa and often mentioned on AirGo.
Dometi Pongo is a media-maker, journalist, host, and producer whose work is grounded in the stories, perspectives, and events of our city. Sound familiar? He's an anchor and reporter for WGN Radio, the host of the ChiPedia and Brainstorm with Dometi podcasts, and has created media work with Chicago's Urban League, Donda's House, WTTW, WYCC, and many other platforms. He's the cofounder of The Artists Lounge, one of the city's best open mics, and he also leads annual excursions to Ghana, aimed at establishing better understandings of Diaspora and cultural cohesion.
AirGo gets cooking with Pivot emcee and gem of a human MfnMelo. The rapper's baritone echoes across some of the city's best tracks from the last year, including a gang of hits on his project Melodramatics, which dropped last October. He also hosts the hilarious and very informative Cooking with Mfn cooking show.