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First Annual Teens In the Park Festival

First Annual Teens In the Park Festival

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The Chicago Park District held the first annual Teens In the Park (or T.I.P.) Festival at Northerly Island curated by Chicago’s 2014 Outstanding Youth of the Year recipient, Chance the Rapper.

The T.I.P. Fest received publicity from names like Rolling Stone, Vibe and Complex magazine and consisted of a crowd of 4,000 13-24 year-olds from all around the Chicago area. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Parks Department and the City of Chicago were all supporters of the successful night.

Chicago rapper and youth mentor, Teh’Ray “PHENOM” Hale, hosted the event alongside Chance and Malcolm London. Mike Hawkins, better known as Brother Mike, and Hale have played a huge role in Chicago’s young hip-hop scene. With the two of them collaborating together in 2009, they were able to bring the south side and north side together with mentoring programs like YOUmedia.

“YOUmedia was a spring board for a lot of Chicago’s youth,” Hale said. “That’s when Chance really got an opportunity to show his talents. Myself and Brother Mike served as mentors for these young people.”

T.I.P Fest was just one more project that Hale received the opportunity to benefit generations to come. The festival was a way to get the teens more involved with the community and offer them services from a variety of programs like Chance’s OpenMike, Rhymefest & Kanye West’s Donda’s House, YCA, Let Your Rhymes Inspire Creativity (or L.Y.R.I.C), and The Happiness Club.

“Chance has become an icon for the youth in Chicago, so it was necessary to have a face to represent the event,” Hale said. “It was awareness of park services and fostering better relationships with the youth and the community. Ultimately, community betterment at it’s best.”

The lineup consisted of young Chicago artists handpicked by Chance. Chance’s long-time buddy, Donnie Trumpet, closed out the show but received a little help from the man of the hour. Chance performed a handful of songs from their new album, Surf. Towards the end of the set, Chance made sure the audience knew the event was all for them.

“We want you guys to know we’re rockin’ with you just for being alive and being young teens, because I know it’s hard,” Chance said. “This is what we made for your guys for free, because you all deserve it.”

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But what no one saw coming next, was when Chance invited Kendrick Lamar to come out to the stage. The crowd flooded closer as Kendrick started his brief set opening up with “m.A.A.d city” and ending with “i” from his newest album, To Pimp a Butterfly.

“I’m proud of what [Chance] is doing with his position,” Hale said. “You don’t see him with any gold chains or a MTV Crib, but you do see him around teens and youth and working with the mayor trying to make things happen.”

Chance closed the night out with one more song from Surf, “Sunday Candy.” Being the first annual Teens In the Park Fest, everyone is excited to see what Chance has in store for years to come.

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