Dear Mary Mitchell & the Chicago Sun-Times,

It’s Thursday morning. Sure, for you, Thursday morning is just another day in the competitive Chicago news cycle. For you, Thursday morning is one more day of editors meetings and scrounging for anything to turn into news on what’s, perhaps, a “slow news week” for you – considering that Chicago hasn’t had a homicide for several days now, as you recently reported. So, what’s a big-city newspaper to do when their biggest news generator (the homicide tally) isn’t churning out the online clicks that they need?


But not just any old gossip. No. You, Mary Mitchell & the Sun-Times, had to reach far for this one; an attempt to shock the city and simultaneously knife its creative community and millennials right in the jugular. You, Mary Mitchell & the Sun-Times, had to go after Chancelor Bennett, most affectionately known as Chance the Rapper.

And it appears to be a strategic move.

Chance the Rapper spent years fighting the system to benefit not only independent rappers but independent creatives who are constantly met with their unfair share of challenges (and, oftentimes, resistance) for the undeniable passion of their art. This five-year fight recently culminated in Chance winning THREE Grammy Awards – becoming the first artist to win for a streaming-only mixtape, Coloring Book. This gave the creative community and Chicago a well deserved alley-oop.

And as if those golden gramophones weren’t enough to secure his position as Chicago’s hero, Chance turned his attention to the yearslong Illinois v. Chicago Public Schools debacle. Last week, Chance left a meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner reportedly flustered by the politician’s inability to do his job to fund the city’s public education. Days later, the Chatham native donated $1 million to the CPS Foundation, leading a call-to-action for others in the city to personally invest in our children’s future if we want to see an improved education system.

That’s just one of many examples of Chance’s grassroots-style of community activism. Back in November, during the Parade to the Polls event, thousands of youth and millennials chanting “Fuck Donald Trump” marched alongside Chance through downtown Chicago to the early-voting polls – with many people voting for the first time. In that moment, it became evident that Chance’s influence in Chicago is mighty enough to spur social change.

However, history has shown us time and time again that whenever a Black person rises in popularity while simultaneously galvanizing the youth to rally around fixing systematic inequities, it doesn’t take long for the “forces that be” to try to shut them down.

You, Mary Mitchell & the Sun-Times, became that force – believe it or not – as soon as you sat down to write today’s front-page column, “Child-support spat could hurt Chance the Rapper’s Image.” Instead of writing a much-needed column about how Chance’s donation is an illustration of how politics are failing our youth, and the grave consequences of this, you chose to pen a premonition of Chance falling from grace over gossip about his situation with his daughter and her mother.

First – Anyone with a basic understanding of grammar and the English language knows that the word “could,” which you used in the headline, is an immediate indicator that whatever claim you’re making hasn’t actually happened. Thus, it’s gossip.

Second – The attempt at a coy admittance of not having heard Chance’s music, (“Although I hadn’t heard a single lyric the 23-year-old penned, I was as proud as if I knew him personally”), only makes this piece even more childish.

Third – If the court filings show that he’s taking care of his child, what exactly is the point of your piece if not solely to play up on the damaging myth that Black men don’t care for their children. As a Black woman, and a strong voice at one of the city’s longest-standing institutions, I thought you would’ve handled this sensitive topic with a little more care.

It’s sensational headlines and stories like these that give the media a bad rep. There were so many other things that you, Mary Mitchell & the Sun-Times, could’ve written about – like the rising popularity of homegrown Chicago rappers like Lil Bibby and G Herbo, who packed out the Metro Wednesday night with fans who recited every word of their songs back to them in perfect chorus. Or, you could’ve used this front-page to show how local artists like Chance are using their platforms to build movements that benefit Chicago and the communities they grew up in.

If anything, attempting to slander a local hip-hop artist who promotes nothing but nostalgia for happy Chicago childhoods, non-violence, family, education and God is a questionable move. It shows how truly out-of-touch the mainstream media is with the community.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a look at how everyone else feels:

is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.