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Photo by Chantal Redmond

A Note from the Editor:

There are two versions of Summertime Chi for Black folks. One is overshadowed by the other; with the latter being this dominating narrative of Black bodies dying in the streets, on porches, in parks and on the expressways. It feels like the blissful days of summer have been snatched from us; only existing in nostalgia. Chance the Rapper said it best in his first verse on Coloring Book’s “Summer Friends”:

Our summer don’t get no shine no more/ Our summer died/ Our summertime, don’t got no time no more.

In grammar school, I couldn’t wait for the clock to hit 2:15 PM on the last day of school. For the next eight weeks or so, days were spent playing endless games of Hide n Go Seek, It, Redlight-Greenlight, Freeze Tag and Rock Teacher – a game that I always assume no one outside of Lexington & Karlov has ever played, or heard of. The boys – and tomgirls like myself – played basketball on a janky rim we made by cutting the bottom out of a milk crate and nailing the crate to a tree in the front yard. A girl would bring out her double-dutch rope and the first to scream “zero in Ohio” won the right to go first. On unbearably hot days, an older boy on the block would crack open the fire hydrant with a huge wrench. And on unbearably hot nights, we’d sit on the porch with our grandparents, eavesdropping on neighborhood gossip and catching a cool breeze.

Photo by Chantal Redmond

This is the Summertime Chi that goes unnoticed, but it’s the Summertime Chi that is dear to me and anyone else who grew up making something out of nothing. There’s an undeniable joy in this version of Black. It still exists, too, if you go beyond the veil of mainstream media.

All summer ‘17, The TRiiBE is focused on exhibiting Black joy in all its forms, shapes and sizes. Join us in this movement. Tag us in your summer photos, using the hashtag #SummertimeChi, and tell us what summer in Chicago means to you.