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On “Chicago Fire,” Hadiya’s Friends & “Angels In The Hood”

By / 05.07.13

Photo: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

A lot of Chicago went into this writing. The city was heavy on my mind after reading the Tribune’s “Life After Hadiya,” an article focusing on Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teen killed as an innocent bystander just weeks after attending President Obama’s Inauguration.

The story traces the path of the bullet, which struck Hadiya as she sat in the park, to today as the 15-year-old’s three close friends – all of whom were there with Pendleton – try to move on without her.

“The next day, Kyra was back in gym class. As always. The teacher was taking attendance. As always.

“As he proceeded through the alphabet toward the P’s, she wondered: Would he call Hadiya Pendleton?

“When he didn’t, students cried.”

The story’s a long but captivating one as it digs deep, going past the surface and picking up saddening narrative where our fast news cycle leaves off. If time permits, read the story in full and share it with others.

Photo: Daniel Shea, Geordie Wood, FADER

Then there was a photo essay, “Chicago Fire,” which debuted yesterday online and in print for The FADER’s annual photo issue. In it, photographer Daniel Shea and Photo Editor Geordie Wood tell the story of Chicago’s South Side, an area riddled with violence, the same area where Hadiya was killed. Shea’s images capture pieces of the city as seen from the perspective of the teens who live there and probably will never leave that sector of the city. See the full collection of images here.

The two essays brought me back to a song I’ve had on repeat for weeks, Gee Watts’ “Angels In The Hood,” from his Watts Up mixtape. Even though Gee’s verses aren’t geared towards Chicago – he’s actually speaking on another Midwest city, Kansas City – it’s not hard to imagine how the lines run parallel as people from Any Hood, U.S.A. look to the sky and wonder why their situations are what they are.

“So if I gotta go today, I pray to God my soul to take
Ask him to forgive me for my sins and many mistakes.
Many different outlooks, many different shades,
I just pray that all of the homies do see better days”

Maybe it all relates, maybe it doesn’t. But each of the stories – each told using different mediums – deserves to be heard and shared.

Gee Watts – “Angels In The Hood” (Prod. FL Goon)


TAGSchicagoDaniel SheaEDUTAINMENTGee WattsGeordie WoodHadiya PendletonMP3sSMOKE BREAKThe FADERWatts Up

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