Bourbon 'n BrownTown

Ep. 13 - Chi DNA: Black History & Resistance in Chicago ft. Kofi Ademola

Episode Summary

BrownTown is joined by Kofi Ademola, a Pan-African activist, community organizer, and leader in the Black Lives Matter movement to discuss the unique history of Black resistance and political organizing in Chicago and how it impacts the movement today.

Episode Notes

This is the third Chicago Drill and Activism (AKA "Chi DNA") installment of Bourbon ’n BrownTown. Chi DNA is an ongoing documentary and multimedia project, which also features interviews, micro-documentaries, and editorial pieces on drill rap and the activist resurgence in Chicago.

Kofi Ademola is a leader in Black Lives Matter - Chicago who has dedicated his life to the struggle for Black liberation, and against systematically and intentionally targeted discrimination. At age 18, Kofi started his life long career in social services, working in homeless shelters, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, conducting gang intervention and conflict resolutions. He orients his work towards combating racism and ending state violence and criminalization of Black communities, reimagining new egalitarian systems that center the most marginalized. Most recently, Kofi claims he's mainly playing the role of "cheerleader" in the movement, amplifying others' campaigns, most notably youth in #NoCopAcademy, women, transpeople, and other marginalized groups doing great work. Additionally, he recently organized the #GoodKidsMadCity campaign that aligns youth in Chicago and Baltimore who fight to end violence in all its forms and call for more resources to underserved communities.

The self-proclaimed "Chicago Forrest Gump," Kofi has been in and out of activist, electoral politics, and hip-hop circles in the city throughout the years, experiences that render him a perfect candidate for a discussion on historical resistance in Chicago. With the conclusion of Black History Month 2018, BrownTown and Kofi dissect what the month really means, how it is co-opted by the white mainstream, and how crucial it is to understand, formulate, and amplify the narrative of yourself and your elders.

The Chicago Drill and Activism project explores the creation, meaning, perspectives, and connections between drill rap and the resurgence of grassroots activism since the early 2010s through the eyes of the people involved. It focuses on contemporary Chicago as an intentional place for the resurgence of these two formations of cultural and political resistance during relatively the same time period. It examines how authenticity, community, and other important values to the subjects are impacted and promoted via technology, social media, and a rejection of traditional means of movement politics and corporate structures. As told by activists and drill rappers alike, the project situates the the subjects’ experiences and actions into a broader theoretical and empirical history of systemic inequality and resistance in Chicago. Follow the ongoing project at for more.


CREDITS: Intro music by Fiendsh and soundbite from Fred Hampton's "You can't jail a revolution" speech. Outro Chi City by Common. Audio engineered by Genta Tamashiro.


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