Monday, September 25, 2023

“The Chi” tells stories of black Chicago with drama and heart


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Featured Photo by BET+

Story by Jasmine Banks

Lena Waithe has been writing, acting and producing since 2007. She’s given us many hits shows and movies such as “Queen & Slim,” “Boomerang,” “Ready Player One,” and more. With such splendid work under her belt, Waithe added one more hit show to her list: “The Chi,” which premiered on Showtime in 2018.

The series is a coming-of-age story that takes place on the South Side of Chicago. It follows the lives of Emmett, Kevin, Ronnie, Brandon and their loved ones. The South Side, as told in this story, carries danger and most aspects center around life and death. The characters are linked together by the events that take place around them and they all seek redemption.  

Season one of the series follows the death of two young people in the neighborhood, Jason and Coogie. The demise of these characters starts a ripple effect on the main characters which leads them down a road for better and for worse. Season one touched on many relatable topics such as prejudice, mourning mothers and relationships all while showing black representation.  

Although season one focuses on the kids and young adults, season two shows more of the adults and side characters of the story. Because of this, more drama and excitement got introduced into the series which brought viewers to the edge of their seats. The show did lose one of their main characters in this season due to behind-the-scenes conflict; However, it continued to be a success and brought in more viewers with myself included.  

The first two seasons were primarily focused on the trauma of young black men, but season three not only dealt with the pain of a young black woman, but it was the start of a black girl being one of the main characters on a drama. 

The Chi” continues to grow and give more representation of the African American community. One fan left a review stating, “it really was refreshing to see a show about the South Side of Chicago from black folks’ POV.”

Waithe stated in an interview with CBS Mornings that “The Chi” shows the human side of Chicago and many fans who are from there agree with her whole heartly.  

“The Chi” has been nominated for over seven awards, one including the NAACP Image Awards. One actor won an outstanding performance from a youth award.

The show continues to break barriers and bring in fans five years after its debut. With the help of its characters, this show gives the late ’80s and early 2000s vibe while still sticking with the year it has taken place. Similar to other TV classics, “The Chi” brings the same pain, beauty and struggle. The show allows all characters, no matter their role, to have their story told which is unlike other shows on TV now.  

For anyone interested, “The Chi” season six is currently streaming on Showtime every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Streaming is also available on Paramount Plus, and the Roku Channel.    

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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