When the New York Postignorantly blasted the Chicago White Sox last April for bringing Chance The Rapper onboard to be a team ambassador, because he authors "vulgar gangsta rap," the article was met with equal parts disbelief and laughter. In addition to being incendiary and hyperbolic, Phil Mushnick's column was just plain inaccurate. Of course, this is what happens when a sports writer who works for a right-wing rag of a newspaper is tasked with writing a story about a rap artist whom he, admittingly, knew nothing about before putting fingers to keyboard.
On Thursday, a mere four days after Chance announced his $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools, Mary Mitchell, a columnist for Chance's hometown paper the Chicago Sun-Times, penned an op-ed entitled, 'Child-support spat could hurt Chance the Rapper’s image.'
I wouldn't encourage anyone to click through to their website, given that you'll be asked to complete a survey just to read the article, the page is plastered in advertisements and there is a video ad that runs with no option to turn off the sound, but if you do decide to brave the minefield that is their dying digital publication, you'll be greeted by a poorly written, cringeworthy article that, once again, finds the author fully admitting her unfamiliarity with a local hero.
"Although I hadn’t heard a single lyric the 23-year-old penned, I was as proud as if I knew him personally. In a way, I did. There’s hardly a youngster, my own included, who grew up in the rap era who didn’t think he or she could rap. Rapping held out the same promise that the NBA did in the Jordan era. If your rap lyrics stood out, you had reason to believe you could become rich and famous like Jay Z."
If you're asking yourself what any of that mumbo jumbo has to do with Chance's child support case and its effect on his image as an activist in the Chicago community, the answer is absolutely nothing. Clearly, editorial oversight at the Sun-Times is optional in 2017.
Oh, but it gets worse.
Not only does Mitchell belittle Chance's incredible philanthropic efforts ("$1 million won’t make a dent in the $215 million deficit the Chicago Public Schools is facing"), but she closes her mostly-unsubstantiated article by painting Chance as a father who doesn't care enough to support his own daughter, but is willing to support the children of others. What?
"You can’t hand out money to benefit children you don’t know and come off looking like you are being stingy when it comes to your own child."
While she's right, $1 million won't fix the problems facing CPS, it's a step in the right direction that has the potential to swell into further support, as we've already seen from A-list manager Scooter Braun, comedian Hannibal Buress and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
It's also true that court filings are a matter of public record, and it's the job of journalists to report on these filings and investigate them further if necessary, but to turn a private matter like a child support case into a haphazardly constructed think piece is both reckless and irresponsible. The fact that the article was published in a Chicago newspaper the same week Chance announced his donation to CPS and his plan moving forward to raise additional funds reeks of political influence.
As for the author of the article, an older, highly educated black woman from Chicago who clearly understands the budgetary constraints facing the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago and its effect on inner-city schools, her attempt to change the conversation at a time when the local headlines should be positively supporting Chance's selfless efforts is simply embarrassing.
This morning, in a video posted to his Instagram with his family by his side, Chance indirectly responded to the article, saying "Y'all better do your jobs and stop worrying about how good my family is."
Mary might not listen to Chance's music, but, hopefully, she's now following him on social media.
Do better, Mary.
By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.