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Virtual premiere of ‘City So Real’ shows authenticity of Chicago


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By Kimberly Perlman

City So Real is a five-part National Geographic docu-series that dives into the complexities and history of Chicago. 

Episode five of the docu-series, “You Gotta Make It Or You Gotta Take It”, shows the aftermath of Covid-19 quarantine. From Chicago residents ignoring safety precautions, to touching upon the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests.

This episode opens with an empowering and passionate public service announcement on the significance of voting in the monumental 2020 election. Featuring several people of color explaining how their ancestors fought for their freedom. Showing well filmed speeches from important historical figures. Which is then followed by an introduction from funk musician Chaka Khan, who is originally from the city. 

The series’ concluding chapter combines cell phone footage of police brutality and on the grounds protest footage. In addition, interviews that gather different perspectives of the summer Black Lives Matter protests. Focusing greatly on the black community’s response from different generations and occupations. Showcasing youth activists fighting alongside the older black men and women, who have been apart of many movements was inspirational and moving. 

Part five also explained the city’s mixed emotions of their mayor. Lori Lightfoot is important but also controversial, because she is the first black female LGBTQ mayor of Chicago. Members within those marginalized communities expressed criticism and feelings of betrayal from her during the episode. It had been explained that there had been many protests at her house. However, residents felt unheard when she didn’t come out to address concerns. 

What is great about this docu-series is how it oozes with the ethos of the spirit of Chicago. Many rappers, writers, designers, and artists reminisce of their upbringing in the city, but seeing and hearing videos shows it is like nowhere else. This year will be in history books without question. Moreover, the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests will hopefully result in more positive change and get their demands met. 

Filmmaker Steve James made sure to have a diverse selection of highly qualified people with different areas of involvement in topics covered. Because of the personal connection to these subjects, City So Real felt authentic and was believable and moving storytelling.

The full five-part documentary will air this Thursday on National Geographic with no commercials. On Friday, the series will be available on Hulu. 

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