I’m from Chicago, Not ‘Chiraq’
by Staff Editor
In the late hours of last night, Nicki Minaj released “Chi-Raq,” a gritty track featuring Chicago native Lil Herb. I enjoyed hearing an aggressive Nicki aiming straight for rappers’ heads and Lil Herb displaying his abilities in his true element. I even appreciated the YMCMB first lady’s attempt at bringing attention to my hometown, but I still can’t bring myself to refer to the song by its disheartening title.
After mainstream news outlets revealed that Chicago led the nation in murders and rivaled the death toll of Americans in Iraq, the city developed the disappointing nickname. And for a while, it was just a local term that was tossed around in conversation, songs and the occasional news piece. But it was local.
The heart-wrenching reality is that the nickname that was played up and sensationalized in the media is a reality that some have to live through on a daily basis – a devastating truth. Some of the city’s inhabitants wear this as a badge of honor to show their strength, both mental and physical, flexing their ability to survive in such a rough environment that is openly compared to a country riddled with war. But for me, it’s nothing to be proud of. It’s actually pretty embarrassing.