Chicago Mayoral Candidate Amara Eniya on Kanye West & Chance the Rapper Bringing 'Optimism' to Her Campaign

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Amara Eniya on Kanye West & Chance the Rapper Bringing 'Optimism' to Her Campaign


Amara Enyia, a self-described activist whose dad and mom emigrated from Nigeria, introduced her candidacy for mayor of Chicago final month, becoming a member of a crowded race that features at the least 15 different candidates, together with key figures within the Chicago political spectrum.

It’s not the primary time Enyia, director of Austin’s Chamber of Commerce, has run for political workplace. Back in 2015, she additionally ran for mayor however dropped out early on within the race. “We began with no identify recognition as a result of I hadn’t been in public workplace earlier than and never even in public life actually,” Enyia tells Streets Talkin.

This time round, it’s fairly the other. With the help of Chicago natives and music stars Chance the Rapper and Kanye West, who’ve formally endorsed the West Side resident, Enyia needs one other likelihood at changing into the subsequent mayor of Chicago.   

Both Chance and West have appeared at Enyia’s "pull up" rallies all through the town of Chicago previously weeks.

“If you’re keen to see what this metropolis could possibly be, you’ll vote for Amara,” Chance mentioned at Enyia’s candidacy announcement on Oct. 16.

While West hasn’t been vocal about his help, he’s donated a complete of $200,000 to Enyia’s marketing campaign, even after tweeting he was “distancing himself from politics” following a gathering with President Trump on the White House and experiences of his involvement in conservative commentator Candace Owens' "Blexit" marketing campaign.

“I’m very grateful and welcoming of Chance and Kanye’s involvement,” Enyia says, whereas including that the musicians convey “optimism” to her mayoral run.

But first issues first: To have the ability to change present mayor Rahm Emanuel, Enyia nonetheless wants to gather sufficient signatures for her identify to really be on the poll for the Feb. 26 elections in Chicago. The deadline to file the signatures is Nov. 26.

In an interview with Streets Talkin, the mayoral hopeful talks about her imaginative and prescient for Chicago and explains what function Chance and Kanye play in her marketing campaign and the general political panorama.

You ran for mayor in 2015. What motivated you to offer it one other shot?

It was my first time working for workplace in 2015 and there have been quite a lot of arduous classes discovered then. But I all the time mentioned that the one method I’d run once more is that if I had that very same degree of conviction about what wanted to occur in Chicago, what could possibly be accomplished and what could possibly be modified in that specific workplace. And so, that’s why I’m working once more.

How are you completely different from the opposite candidates who need to be mayor of Chicago?

I’m in all probability the one candidate who has each the highest authorities degree expertise however nonetheless deeply linked to the group and to the grassroots. That’s fairly distinctive. What it means is that I’m capable of interact within the coverage area for the town however my coverage is knowledgeable by being linked to what’s occurring in individuals’s day-to-day lives. We’re in an atmosphere the place individuals need to see themselves within the individuals who characterize them and never just a few disconnected one who is making selections for them however somebody who they will relate to.

It’s clear that like Chance and Kanye, you like Chicago. What are different shared commonalities you might have with these music stars?

The widespread thread between the three of us is a imaginative and prescient for Chicago. What was refreshing about each Chance and Kanye is that they will really envision what we will do to make this metropolis even higher. To have celeb endorsements is nice however once they’re substantive, even higher. Chance specifically has demonstrated his dedication to Chicago in some tangible methods. On lots of the similar points we’ve organized in the identical areas though we hadn't met formally. For instance, he has been a part of the schooling fairness efforts and donated 1,000,000 to CPS. I used to be organizing for the psychological well being motion years in the past once they had been closing psychological well being clinics and he just lately donated to increase psychological well being assets in Chicago. So, these are tangible steps which have been taken that present what he’s dedicated to.

And with Kanye, it’s the identical. He’s from Chicago, he grew up right here and he sees how we will really transfer the financial system. What does it seem like to create job? what does it seem like to handle this situation of homelessness? He has these huge concepts and for me, when anybody demonstrates an curiosity in serving to their hometown, we must always take note of that.

How had been these preliminary conversations with Kanye and Chance? What was your response whenever you heard Kanye needed to talk with you?

Actually, he referred to as me straight. It was form of out of the blue with Kanye specifically. He referred to as and mentioned, “that is Kanye West,” and I used to be like “oh.” He needed to FaceTime me as a result of he needed me to know that it was really him and never a prank. But, I took his phrase for it and advised him that we might discuss over the telephone. This was when he was speaking about shifting again to the Chicago space and he mentioned that my identify stored developing in numerous conversations due to my work and what I used to be doing. So, he needed to satisfy and discuss Chicago and the way we might transfer the town ahead. It was dialog and that’s the way it all started. When we really met, it was very refreshing with the ability to discuss with somebody who doesn’t have these limitations about what we will do within the metropolis. It was extremely refreshing with the ability to discuss to somebody who’s a creator and there aren’t any limitations about what he can envision and create.

Chance, alternatively, mentioned he had been a fan of mine for a very long time and that he rocks with me and desires to speak concerning the imaginative and prescient for Chicago. I had been a fan of his from afar as effectively and after we met, we simply clicked.

What function do these musicians have in your marketing campaign?

Our marketing campaign is basically about increasing the voters. It’s our duty to be sure that not solely the possible voters come out to vote however the individuals who have by no means had religion within the course of. Chance and Kanye attain an viewers that historically has not been as engaged. There’s an optimism that they convey. Both of them have come out of the humanities group and so we’ve talked about methods to increase entry to artwork applications. We’ve talked about what it appears to be like like for everybody within the Chicago Public Schools district to have entry to applications that enrich the standard of the tutorial expertise. I do know in Kanye’s case, he’s talked about bringing his factories right here to really manufacture his merchandise in Chicago, that’s enormous from an financial growth perspective but in addition it exhibits what investing domestically can do to bolster employment and to bolster the financial atmosphere within the metropolis.

Has having celeb endorsements introduced any form of criticism to your marketing campaign or pushback from opponents or supporters? Particularly your relationship with Kanye due to his current controversial visits to the White House to satisfy with President Donald Trump.

I positively had a dialog about it with Kanye. We talked about my platform and his views because it pertains to the president. He made it very clear to me in our dialog that he doesn’t help the president's views or insurance policies, what he helps is the concept that we ought to be keen to have interaction everybody in dialogue. That we must always all the time hold traces of communication open and alternatives for understanding individuals who might need completely different beliefs and completely different views from us. And I can get with that. The different factor is that he has been very supportive of our platform. We talked about all the huge platform points because it pertains to the financial system, schooling, housing in Chicago and he mentioned that he believes our platform is the one platform that’s proper for Chicago, for who we’re and who we could be as a metropolis.

Do you suppose musicians ought to be concerned in politics or elevate their voice on the subject of politics?

I believe that artists are the lifeblood of any motion and so I believe even within the political area there’s a function for artists to play. For them to convey extra individuals into the method or an occasion to get individuals to concentrate is totally essential. If Chance is the rationale why you’re taking note of these elections, nice! If Kanye is the rationale why you’re taking note of what’s occurring in Chicago, implausible! Whatever it takes to get them there. Many individuals didn’t get entangled in politics till we had our present president. And that’s what it took for them to be shaken and grow to be lively. Chance and Kanye’s presence within the marketing campaign has opened up the mayoral elections to a complete new style of people that had not been engaged earlier than.

What are some points you need to deal with as mayor of Chicago?

The actuality of Chicago is that rich and extra prosperous communities have benefited and, sadly, it’s occurred on the expense of extra challenged communities who’ve largely been ignored, missed or just pushed apart on the subject of selections about how assets are allotted and the way our method to schooling is. Without having a lens of fairness, you’ll be able to’t make coverage that’s really useful or at the least that doesn’t hurt these very individuals. We’re bringing an fairness lens to decision-making and we’re additionally bringing the group’s voice into decision-making — which is loads completely different than simply together with voices of those that are politically-connected or those that have the cash to purchase political clout.

What do individuals outdoors of Chicago nonetheless don’t perceive concerning the metropolis?

It’s a really advanced metropolis. The method issues are so entrenched that it stifles quite a lot of innovation, which is unlucky as a result of it’s such an exquisite metropolis. That’s why these elections are so vital as a result of we’re breaking away from that. We had 22 years of incumbent Richard M. Daley, then we’ve had six years beneath the present mayor who got here out of the White House so he had the glitz and glamour of the Obama administration. The dynamics are utterly completely different now. This is the primary time that now we have an open discipline and in the event you see how issues are taking part in out, you’ll see that it’s nearly like a verdict of the town’s previous and the town’s future.