Best of Chicago
We are looking at Chicago long after Jean Baptiste DuSable witnessed this land, long after the Great Migration fanned out from train stations to Chicago’s South and West Sides, and almost a century after Robert Johnson’s rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago” became a citywide anthem played on televised events to celebrate this city’s rich cultural and historic heritage, long after the 1919 Red Summer that set the uncomfortable stage for the city’s racial divide and dynamics that, to this day, still exist. Newcity approached us to co-edit a landmark Best of “Our” Chicago issue that isn’t just about declaring a Black “Who’s Who” listing that celebrates who’s the hottest, best, most popular and where you should spend your money.
We wanted to assemble a Best of Chicago issue that celebrates some of the people, places, creative landmarks, food and history threaded through the cloth of the entire city interwoven by a Black Chicago fabric. Imagine trying to pull that thread out of the city. You can’t. Everything that makes it robust, vibrant and memorable depends on that thread, but if you took it out, Chicago wouldn’t be that rich, vibrant weave. It would be a jumbled mess of material, sitting there. Accomplishing nothing. Instead, Chicago is a city that always feels like home, even with its segregation, its neighborhoods that unfold around CTA color-coordinated lines and roll through surrounding suburbs, and its yawning absence of Black communities in its mainstream media.
—From the editors' letter written by guest editors Robert "Scoop" Jackson and Tara Betts
City/Life (18 items)
+ Best Example of Black Rage Defeating Black Liberalism: The Summer of 2020
Culture/Nightlife (9 items)
+ Best Counter to the Systemic Racism of Chicago’s Downtown and North Side Nightlife (i.e. Best Way to Avoid the “White Girl Wasted” Syndrome): An Interview With Kenny Johnson
Food/Drink (26 items)
+ Best… Ever: Hennessy and We
Goods/Services (17 items)
+ Best Sign of The Times: Black-Owned Business Sign
Voices/Activism (28 items)
+ Best South Side Lois Lane: Natalie Moore Tells the Stories
Create/Community (26 items)
+ Best Version of How White City Became Black Space: Notes on Jackson Park
History/Future (13 items)
+ Best of the Booming and Before Them Diasporic Generation: 2020-to-Infinity, For the Souls of Chi Folk
Best from our Best + Roll Call
Arts & Culture
Art: Nate Young and Mika Horibuchi bring their labor to the forefront Design: The Miles of Michael White's fashion journey Dining & Drinking: Coffee, Hip Hop & Mental Health has a mission Film: An epic City So Real/Lit : An Interview with Christen Carter about the power of buttons Music: Johnny Iguana’s boogie-woogie piano makes Chicago Spectacular Stage: Jenn Freeman|Po'Chop explores Black femininity and spirituality Reviews: Malangatana at the Art Institute, Nine Lives at the Renaissance Society
84 pages including cover.
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