One Chicago Day – ‘Chicago P.D.’ lives in the gray area

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(l-r) Nick Gehlfuss, “Chicago Med”; LaRoyce Hawkins, Patrick John Flueger, “Chicago P.D.”; Torrey Devitto, “Chicago Med” — (Photo by: Parish Lewis/NBC)

originally posted at rollingout.com

NBC has embraced Chicago in a way that helps to provide a lens into the different facets of the city via television shows. “Chicago P.D.”, “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med” are successful television shows that have a long list of characters; however, the city is the main character. Each show is unique in its own way and many issues that are prominent in Chicago can be an insight into what is going on throughout the nation. Issues of police brutality, gender inequality, and racism are at the forefront.i

Recently NBC opened up their doors by way of the Lagunitas brewery to share “One Chicago Day.” The day was an opportunity to provide some intimate insight as to the inner workings by making the cast and the writers available for questions and discussion.

The most intriguing discussion I took part in involved the directors, writers and cast of “Chicago P.D.” Emmy award winner Eriq La Salle and Rick Eid are co-executive producers of “Chicago P.D.” When asked about the direction the show was moving in, they both spoke of operating in a gray area.

“The first episode of the year that Eriq directed, we tried to make it about how hard it is to be a cop in Chicago these days. It’s always been hard, but these days with some of the racial tension, the federal involvement with the ‘Chicago P.D.,’ we wanted to tell a story that just highlighted that it’s not so easy to be a cop even when you are trying your hardest and everybody has a point of view on it. The African American community has their point of view and a White cop has their point of view. We try to make it so that everybody is kind of right, yet nobody agrees, yet everybody is right,” said Eid.

“It’s our responsibility as storytellers to not tell you what to think. It’s our job to present a balanced story. All of you can watch the exact same episode and have opposing opinions based on how you grew up. Our job is not to say the Black person was right here and that’s it. There may be some stories where someone is clearly right or wrong, but it’s our job to make it more complex and to show all perspectives. I may not agree with a character’s perspective personally but as an artist, I get excited about a perspective that is so different than mine. When you have that type of objectiveness with storytelling I think it frees you up,” said La Salle.

That same perspective carries over from the producers to the actors seamlessly. We spoke with LaRoyce Hawkins (Kevin Atwater) and Patrick John Flueger (Adam Ruzek) about working with each other on set and how this grey area informs their work.

“If we are going to talk about the sociopolitical goings on in Chicago we want to do it in a thoughtful way where we kind of stay in the grey area. It’s a complex conversation. There’s no right, there’s no wrong, it’s somewhere in the middle. Having Royce be from where he is and with the experiences he’s had helps us to have that conversation in a more thoughtful way. It’s not about opinions it’s about a thoughtful conversation. The show is trying to live in that realm of a thoughtful conversation.” said Flueger.

“Life is that delicate dance of right and wrong, making decisions making mistakes and having to deal with those consequences. I think in the past we conducted the show in a very black and white way. You would obviously know who the heroes are and we were a good show because of that. I think that worked for us for four seasons, but now living in the grey allows us to be a lot more relatable. I think it allows the show to feel a lot more complicated in a way that everybody understands the vibe. The heroes are not obvious, they may come from more unconventional points. In my humble opinion I think that makes for more interesting TV,” said Hawkins.

Fallen is one of the most recent episodes of “Chicago P.D.” that deals with this grey area head on when a family is murdered seemingly by a known gang leader and a police officer who is known to straddle the fence commits suicide. At the risk of sharing any spoilers, let me just say everything is not what it seems. Kudos to “Chicago P.D.” for having the courage to approach some serious issues in a truthful way.

Kicked in the door wavin the four four

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Taraji P. Henson, Brooke Mackie and Ashunta Sheriff host 3rd Annual Halloball in Chicago

Ashunta Sheriff, Taraji P. Henson and Brooke Mackie – (Photo Credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

originally posted on rollingout.com

“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, Brooke Mackie, and Ashunta Sherriff hosted the 3rd annual Halloball at the Sugar Factory in Chicago. This year, the theme of the event was all things ’80s. Spandex, Jherri Curls, and fanny packs were in abundance. Taraji donned a Grace Jonesesque outfit and her VIP section was a madhouse for the duration of the night. A few celebrity sightings included Yaya Dacosta of “Chicago P.D.” and Ta’Rhonda Jones of “Empire.” This year’s event stayed true to form with Chicago notables packing the Sugar Factory from wall to wall celebrating the official launch into the fall season.

Check out a few of the pictures in the gallery below.

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Janet Jackson shares thoughts while visiting Gary Indiana

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson in her hometown Gary Indiana visiting her brothers old High-School – (Photo Credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

originally posted on rollingout.com

Janet Jackson was in town recently for her ‘State Of The World tour’. The tour has been selling out across the country and the reviews have been stellar. The recent Chicago stop brought her closer to her hometown of Gary Indiana. As a result, she decided to make a visit to Gary, a place she had not been since she was eight years old.

Her first stop was the famous 2300 Jackson St. An extremely humble home that produced two of the biggest superstars the world has ever known. Then Janet and Randy Jackson made their way to the high-school her brothers attended, The Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy. Legend has it that the auditorium at the school is the first place the Jackson Five ever performed.
The students were beyond excited to see Janet and asked her a few questions during her visit. When asked what she thought her biggest accomplishment was Janet said having her son at 51 was her biggest accomplishment. She was told by many doctors that it couldn’t happen. She was also asked who her favorite artists were now and she mentioned Bruno Mars, Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar.

“For the students, it was definitely an opportunity of a lifetime. They attend school every day passing the Jackson family home and to see Janet and Randy Jackson in front of their very eyes, showing a genuine interest in them, wanting to hear from them. It reminds them that anything is possible,” said the school’s principal Donna Henry. “Millions of people love Janet Jackson, the Jackson family, but I think the outpouring of love from these young people, from her hometown, was emotional and fulfilling [for Janet].”

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Atonement – The spirit of The Million Man March 

22 years ago I paid $50 for a round trip bus ticket that would change my life. The trip would take me to Washington DC for the Million Man March organized by Minister Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. I was 23 years old with no direction or focus trying to find out more about me. Injustice towards Black people was just as prevalent as it is today. This injustice and economic empowerment were the focal point. A sea of Black men came together in order for the world to take notice and make a change.

There were a few things I came back to Chicago with after my trip. I recognized the power of coming together for one common cause. I developed an understanding of what the Black man means to our families and to our country. I also learned the concept of being self sustaining through ownership and business The most important lesson I learned on that day was the one of forgiveness. 
October 16th 1995 was more than a gathering of one million Black men calling for freedom justice and equality. It was also the day of atonement. A day to ask for forgiveness for anything that you may have done that harmed someone. It was a day to sincerely work towards making a mends. 

22 years later Black people find themselves in a situation where it feels like the establishment is looking to turn back time. The only difference now is that so many of us are so distracted from the reality of this and we don’t even notice what is happening. We have relinquished our freedom to a screen. In this moment it is imperative that we claim our freedom and get better at the same time. 

In the spirit of The Million Man March I am taking this moment to apologize to anyone I have wronged in any way. I am atoning for my sins before the creator. I do this in order to move forward with a clear focus and mind in order to change my circumstance and the circumstance of Black people. Long Live The Spirit of The Million Man March.
-Precise

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Waka Flocka said he is black and didn’t sell his soul at ‘Wild N Out’ tour in Chicago

 

If you are anything like me you probably though Waka was buggin on Sway in the Morning the other day. He mentioned he was not Black and it caused a frenzy on the internet. Well on the Chicago stop of the Wild N Out tour where Waka was a musical guest he took a moment to clear the air.

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Mike Pence hijacks Black life for patriotism – It’s our fault

Mike Pence twitter @VP

Photo source: Mike Pence twitter @VP

The Vice President of the United States Mike Pence decided to leave a Colts game because he feels that players should not disrespect the troops by kneeling during the national anthem.

The act of taking a knee made prevalent by Colin Kaepernick during a pre-season game in San Francisco almost two years ago has morphed from a statement on police brutality with regards to the injustice inflicted on Black people to a commentary on patriotism. Watching this happen in front of our faces is like watching a magic trick you know the secret to. This tactic is so deliberate and we allowed it to happen.

Once again Black life is disregarded. In the eyes of America, it is clear that dealing with anything having to do with Black people is the last thing to be considered at any moment during the history of this country. It’s our own fault. We have been lulled to sleep with a dream, an American dream that goes unrealized for a large segment of the population. Every life taken or affected by rogue law enforcement is a notch on the belt of American racism as it continues to fester in the hearts of the dominant class.

Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year, according to data collected for The Counted, an effort by the Guardian to record every such death. They were also killed at four times the rate of young white men.

The previous statistic was taken from a Huffington Post article focused on figures gathered last year. That statistic is not surprising and does not cause any pause because Black people are zombies now. You will be hard-pressed to find a large number of individuals who will boycott the NFL. The act of turning off the television or even changing the station to directly affect the economics of a league that does not support the people who make up large percentages their employees seem foreign or even a waste of time. Instead, we want someone else to take a stand. So as we wait we watch the movement get hijacked just like any other movement that had to deal with the freedom of Black people.

-Precise

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Surround Sound of Fashion is on the cutting edge

Photo Credit – Eddy “Precise” Lamarre

The Logan center located in the Hyde Park community of Chicago was the spot for the 9th annual Surround Sound Of Fashion. Nathan Gilbert the founder of this event called it a “Fashion motion picture”. Designers from across the United States come to showcase their clothing in the midst up music and art. It is a carnival for the senses. Rapper Dave East closed out the show.

My personal favorites were Iridium, Born Fly and Fila. Take a look at a few pictures in the gallery.

-Precise

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O.J. Simpson is a free man again – The Juice is Loose

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O.J. Simpson is a free man after serving nine years in a Nevada prison. Simpson was arrested and jailed because of a kidnapping and armed robbery in 2007. He was caught trying to reclaim items that were initially his. He was the only individual out of five who was jailed because of his involvement.

O.J. was released just 8 minutes after he was officially eligible for release. His release was quiet and happened without the presence of paparazzi and press.

In July of 2017 the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners voted unanimously to release Simpson on parole. O.J. will be monitored and he is not allowed to consume large amounts of alcohol or spend time with convicted felons.

The life of O.J. a storied NFL athlete took a turn in 1994 when he was named a suspect in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Ultimately with the assistance of his team of lawyers lead by Johnny Cochran, Simpson was acquitted. The United States was split down racial lines and as the verdict was read live reactions between black and white citizens were extremely different.

The trial was dubbed “the trial of the century” and left the nation polarized. Different stories of what actually happened surfaced everyday. The way that the trial was covered was deemed by many as a circus and  launched many careers of those involved into the spotlight. That trial happened on the heels of the LA riots that were a result of Los Angeles police officers being acquitted for the beating of Rodney King in 1991.

Even after Simpson was acquitted of murder the victims’ families filed a wrongful death suit and Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

It will be interesting to see how Simpson lives his life after this release. One thing is for certain, his life will never be the same.

-Precise

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