Over the weekend, Chance the Rapper took center stage both in the art world and in philanthropy, showcasing his multifaceted talents and commitment to his community.

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SocialWorks, the youth empowerment charity founded by Chance the Rapper, proudly presented a special benefit concert headlined by Chance himself. This one-night-only event was held on April 13th at the historic Ramova Theater in Chicago with 100% of proceeds going to the non-profit.

The highly anticipated event promised an evening of exceptional entertainment while championing a noble cause. With Chance the Rapper headlining and DJ Oreo opening, attendees experienced an immersive musical experience that reflected the spirit of giving back to the community.

Chance debuted his latest interdisciplinary work, “The Last Stair,” in collaboration with  Chicago-born, Florence-based painter Thelonious Stokes at EXPO Chicago, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art. From April 11 – April 14, the large-scale Oil on Canvas work was on view for the first time ever. “The Last Stair” is part of Chance’s highly-anticipated project, Star Line Gallery, due out later this year. Chance and Thelonious also delivered a keynote at the Expo with Asma Naeem Ph.D. (Baltimore Museum of Art), moderated by Nate Freeman (Vanity Fair). The conversation focused on their latest work and hip-hop’s ever-present influence on modern art.
Photo_Apr_15_2024__10_56_55_AM image“The Last Stair” emerges as a collaborative effort between two Chicago artists whose latest endeavors revolve around the concept of reclamation. Star Line Gallery represents a space both celebratory and vulnerable, providing a platform for Black artists to recount their narratives and share their rich histories. The forthcoming project features works created in partnership with visual artists across the Diaspora, redefining the notion of ‘album art’ and creating compelling conversations and meditations on Black life. The reclamation of the past is a powerful source of inspiration for Chance, whose Star Line Gallery works “Child of God” (collaboration with Gabonese artist and painter Naïla Opiangah), “A Bar About A Bar” (collaboration with Chicago-based painter Nikko Washington and filmmaker Troy Gueno), “The Highs & The Lows” feat. Joey Bada$$ (collaboration with Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga), and “YAH Know” (collaboration with Chicago-based visual artist Mía Lee) have been showcased at art institutions around the world including EXPO Chicago, Art Basel, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles’ Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
Thelonious, the first African American oil painter to graduate from the Florence Academy of Art, is celebrated internationally for his pioneering technique of ‘Blackwashing’ to reclaim narratives by prominently featuring Black figures in his art. His recent portrayal of Emmett Till and his father, Louis, garnered global attention at Art Basel. In his latest work, “The Last Stair,” Thelonious continues this tradition by utilizing Judeo-Christian themes to challenge the worn-out tropes of the Western canon. Informed by his identity as an African American and his sense of being underrepresented in conventional Christian art, Thelonious presents the birth of Christ in a way that speaks directly to the diaspora, challenging prevailing mono-cultural norms.