Last week Nikki and I won two tickets (WHO THE HELL DO WE THINK WE ARE) to go to the Obama Foundation Summit Closing Night Concert. If you don't know about the summit, check it out. So much good stuff and inspiration and hope and folks making a difference in their communities and that right there would have been enough. Chicago needed this. Chicago provides this. Those of us who live here see it every day.
But then there was this concert. Headed up by CHANCE THE GD RAPPER. My kids and I listen to Chance so much and stalk his instagram feed with his baby girl so often they think we are all friends.
We will get to these two other angels in a minute, because OH MY GOD I am so tired I only slept about two hours last night but if I don't write this all down so it's kept forever, I fear my brain may forget certain things, and I don't want to forget what was certainly one of the best nights of my life. I've been ignoring my kids all day to re-watch clips and so they now know every part of this concert as well.
I got to the WinTrust Arena right after work about 4:30 pm and it was freezing and raining and I waited outside for two hours as the doors were to open at 6:30 pm. I made friends standing in that line and as we tried to go inside ourselves with the will to keep warm and dry,we bonded over our excitement for this night, our sadness and anger over the current administration, and our collective loss of what we had not so long ago in the Obamas.
Well, I got in. There were roughly 100 Chicago Police Officers and likely many more plain clothed Officers in attendance and they seemed to be excited by this event as well. They handled it all beautifully as far as we could see and I'm so grateful for their service. Attending any big event venue scares me, I won't lie, but for this night I was all in.
Nikki and I met up inside and were ushered onto the main floor where we landed in THE FOURTH ROW. So close to the stage we could see their halos. Coincidentally, another friend was sitting right in front of us, so we had a whole group there. And really, the entire place was so damn happy to be there, it was a giant love fest.
About 8:50 pm, it happened. As with the entire show, we had no idea who would be coming on stage. It would go black and then the announcer would just shout - PLEASE WELCOME....the first was Ms. Andra Day. Do you know "Rise Up?" Oh god yes. Anthem. She slayed.
Please note that these are only my snippets of videos because I was trying my best to be in the moment and just soak it all in. Plus Nikki and I were screaming and crying and shaking and literally holding each other up, so the videos would be a mess.
Then Chance's smile took that stage we fully lost our business.
Every time I even glimpse Michelle, I lose all ability to remain a functional human being. I want to be like her. I want what she has. I am so grateful for her. And the Chicago love was filling that place last night. Proud Chicagoans were representing.
"I MISS YOU TOO" There has never been so much shaking and crying. Never ever ever. That walk, that voice, that smile, that reassurance. Just, thank you.
Gloria Estefan, The National, Brandi Carlile, Nas, Francis and the Lights, Azis Ansari and Lena Waithe, and CHANCE THE RAPPER performed. Nikki and I were out getting popcorn when I screamed, I mean spotted Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, and Lena Waithe like 2 feet away from us. I tried my best to be cool but failed miserable In the presence of greatness.
Oh and then THIS GUY SHOWS UP as Chance and Francis and the Lights are singing Dear Theodosia.....
I THINK THEY WERE TRYING TO KILL US because you cannot have Lin-Manuel Miranda just walk out and start singing without any warning WHERE IS MY FAINTING COUCH.
Not a dry eye in this love filled house.
But then, he starts in with the "Are you ready for your blessings, are you ready for your miracles" song and I will tell you this was church.
Everyone was up and singing and when the praises go up, the blessings come down. Barack and Michelle were up in a box up top at 11:30 pm at the end of this show and they were dancing and singing with the rest of us. It was sacred, joy-filled space.
I AM READY (AND HAVE RECEIVED) FOR MY BLESSINGS AND MY MIRACLES. ARE YOU?
Chance ended with fireworks and his three new grammys flashing on the screen and we all used up the rest of our voices to scream THANK YOU WE LOVE YOU to him, to the Obamas, to each other.
In a time when hope and logic and kindness seem to be dwindling, we all felt filled up last night. It's a night Nikki and I will never forget and I wish every one of you could've been there with us. This is my way of sharing that hope and love with you. The Summit proved there are such good people and programs and communities working together for our future. For our kids future. I want to continue to be a part of THAT.
I got to go the the Obama Foundation Summit Concert and all I got was this hope, inspiration, and gratitude.
You can watch the entire concert here - I've watched it four times already today.
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