The TRiiBE Guide 2019

The TRiiBE Guide 2019 is here!

The TRiiBE Guide is our annual guide to Black Chicago. The limited-edition inaugural 2019 book, powered by Wintrust Bank, is our effort to enhance the social and cultural experiences of Black folks in Chicago.

With our #TRIIBEMOB cover shoot, The TRiiBE Guide 2019 shines light on a few Black Chicago creatives who are moving mountains to uplift and unify their communities through journalism, music, poetry, art and more. Click through the digital version of The TRiiBE Guide 2019 , or visit on of our distribution partners listed below to pick up your free physical copy of The TRiiBE Guide 2019 while supplies last.

Distribution partners for The TRiiBE Guide 2019:

(Check back regularly for new locations)

The Silver Room (1506 E. 53rd St.) 

NoTEL Private Offices & Coworking (2635 S. Wabash Ave.)

Shawn Michelle’s Ice Cream (46 E. 47th St.)

Free Spirit Media at Nichols Tower (906 S. Homan Ave.)

Young Chicago Authors (1180 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Westside Justice Center (601 S. California Ave.)

EnvyMe Hair Studio (1525 E. 55th St., Suite 101)

Build Coffee (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.)

Urbane Blades (948 N. Orleans St.)

13th Flow (30 W. Garfield Blvd.)

Sip & Savor (78 E. 47th St. & 5301 S. Hyde Park Blvd)

MLK Exhibit Center (1550 S. Hamlin Ave.)

Legendary Art Gallery (2419 W. Madison St.)

Open Center for the Arts (2214 S. Sacramento Ave.)

South Shore Brew (7101 S. Yates Blvd.)


Aurelius Raines III, a.k.a. “The Third,” is a jack of all trades: rapper, poet, journalist and activist. In May, he dropped his EP, Cursive. On the second track, “Soundcloud Rapper,” he pays homage to the hometown heroes — Noname, Saba, Jamila Woods, Chance the Rapper, and more — who paved the way for the type of poetry-infused lyricism he spits and changed the tide in the music game overall. Raines draws writing inspiration from his father, a poet and sci-fi writer. Through his music, Raines wants to inspire change and higher thinking.


Raych Jackson unearths complex truths through her poetry; the kind that taps into longtime vulnerabilities while simultaneously discovering hidden beauties within them. One example is her poem, “A sestina for a Black girl who does not know how to braid hair,” where she finds usefulness in the embarrassment she felt as a Black girl who didn’t know how to braid hair. Soon, Jackson will reveal new truths regarding Blackness, shame and church life in her debut poetry collection, Even the Saints Audition (September 2019). You also can catch Jackson at Big Kid Slam, a monthly poetry show she co-hosts on the last Friday of every month at Que4 Gallery.


Johnny Jones just wants all of Black Chicago to be great. Period. Growing up in North Lawndale, Jones didn’t have access to creative resources. So he’s committed to curating creative projects for and by the people under his brand, The Lingo Chicago. With various pop-up events and showcases around the city, Jones’ goal is to provide safe and viable spaces for artists and their work.


P Ife Williams is a queer “art-ivist” and scholar that everyone should know. She’s been putting in work on Chicago’s West Side for years. She started out fighting against the displacement of Black and Brown folks. In 2011, she became the cofounder of Art Forward, a nonprofit where she promoted the use of the arts and cultural narratives to spark intergenerational collaborations within our communities. Today, she’s focused on collective identity and community healing as a member of BYP 100’s Healing & Safety Council.


Rome J is The TRiiBE’s music correspondent, and his interviews with rising and established artists in Chicago are doing numbers on social media. He knows his music stuff, and it shows in each interview. In summer 2018, Rome J interviewed rapper G Herbo at Lollapalooza. Herb loved the interview so much, he shared it on his own Instagram page. Additionally, Rome J is the co-host of The Forecast, an original video series on that spotlights artists who are blowing up the Chicago music scene.


Her name speaks for itself, really. Since childhood, Joi Weathers always questioned the world around her. Out of this perpetual curiosity, her Joi Has Questions brand was born. Whether comparing former Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly to social-media comedian Joanne the Scammer in her blog posts, or interviewing Chicago change makers on her podcast, Weathers is in the constant pursuit of answers for herself and for her community.


Haman Cross is leaving his mark on Chicago in more ways than one. For starters, he’s an artist of multiple disciplines: fine art, mural painting and stage design, just to name a few. Cross manages the Chicago leg of the nonprofit, Out of Eden Walk, a retracing of ancient migration from Africa to continents across the globe. As a community organizer, he’s worked to build community through artistic expression. In December 2018, with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cross gathered a group of Chicago Public Schools students to create murals centered on Black Chicago history at the DuSable Museum. 


Mylissa Veal is a content creator with experience in social-media management, brand consulting, graphic design and copywriting. She founded OkSoBoom in May to connect with women who share her identities; a Black, queer creative and single mother. Through OkSoBoom, Veal highlights the multitudes Black women contain. OkSoBoom is a space for Black women to be their “Black ass selves,” she says. 


Boyede Sobitan is the Nigerian visionary and co-founder behind OjaExpress, a grocery delivery service that brings hard-to-find African and Caribbean foods to Chicagoland residents. Sobitan applied the genius of existing services like PeaPod to solve a problem he experienced firsthand: an African food desert in an urban American city. OjaExpress supplies Chicago’s Black diaspora with everything from plantain chips to Jamaican-style curry chicken. Sobitan’s ingenuity didn’t go unnoticed: he was named a 2018 Rising Brand Star of Chicago by Adweek.


Asia Ashley is one half of The Lab3L, “the first and only female DJ Duo in Chicago.” She and her fellow sound selector, Basia Braboy, are known for attracting crowds across the country. That’s because the duo pulls from a wide-range of genres during their sets, playing anything from rapper Cardi B’s “Pull Up” to R&B crooner Eugene Wilde’s “Gotta Get You Home Tonight.” Outside of deejaying, Ashley’s got her hand in several creative pots — including a new food venture called Just Wing It, a pop-up wing shop she launched in June.


Leo Norris is bringing together media mavens from every Chicago hood through Millennial Media Meetup, a quarterly event he hosts to encourage collaboration between local content creators. But Leo from the Go is musically inclined, too. He hosts “The Bullpen,” a University of Illinois-Chicago radio show which discusses everything regarding music and culture in Chicago. He also managers Aye Rome, a rapper out of Detroit.


Alexie Young is an advocate for “the artist living in all of us.” She’s currently on a mission to transform the Martin Luther King Jr. Exhibit Center in North Lawndale, where she serves as executive director, into a creative hub that hosts live shows and community art while also honoring King’s 1966 freedom campaign in the neighborhood. Additionally, Young recently founded Art West, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together the King Exhibit Center and other West Side cultural centers for art-centered community events.


Derrick Clifton doesn’t hold his tongue when it comes to Black culture, identity and LGBTQIA issues — and the people are listening. He took home multiple awards for his 2016-17 Chicago Reader column, Identity and Culture, where he wrote about the Black Trans Lives Matter movement and the role of racism in Chicago’s violence prevention efforts. Today, Clifton is the communications manager for ProPublica Illinois, and occasionally lends his words to


Kemdah Stroud loves Chicago, and she’s found her way to show it. In June, Stroud launched her nonprofit, Thankful for Chicago. Through the organization, she plans to create an apprenticeship program for young innovators who will work together to produce an annual music festival centered around local music artists, vendors and other talent. Prior to this venture, Stroud made a name for herself as a curator for Chicago Votes and rapper Vic Mensa’s community-based nonprofit, SaveMoneySaveLife.


Cai Thomas is on a roll. Only three years out of college, the journalist and documentary filmmaker already has seven fellowships under her belt, including her most recently ones with Sundance Ignite and Kartemquin Film’s Diverse Voices in Doc. Thomas explores the intersection of identity, self-determination and location in her work. Previously, she’s worked on the CBS award-winning Sunday Morning show and The Washington Post podcast, “Historically Black.”


Roe Melloe is a force in the visual arts community. Through Melloe Drama, his full-service management company, Melloe takes artists to new heights with hyper-focused marketing strategies, brand development and events that introduce new audiences to his clients’s work. Additionally, this cultural catalyst is president of the South Side Community Center’s NextGen Associate Board and creative director of the Artisan Collective. 


Justin Clarke wears many hats. He’s the project manager for the Emerging Choreographers Showcase at Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. Essentially, he does any and everything related to marketing, fundraising, contract writing and coordinating travel schedules in order to make the three-week program happen every summer. The showcase is a platform for emerging artists to cultivate their voice and talent for debut.