‘Chicago Love’ – A Conversation with Rahman Dukes (Revolt TV)

This is a follow-up interview with Revolt TV‘s VP of News and Programming, Rahman Dukes. He spoke on air with WVON’s Perri Small about the “Chicago Love” documentary he produced alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs and Revolt CEO, Keith Clinkscales. In this extended interview, we talk about his career and the motivation behind creating this documentary.

“Chicago Love” did a good job of combining diverse perspectives into one narrative. The editors masterfully pit differing opinions against one another in a non-confrontational way – which is hard to do with these kinds of programs. In the ‘Chicago Doc,’ as Dukes informally calls it, thought leaders analyzed the deep-seated causes for the city’s gun violence. At the same time, the Doc points out that the media coverage of Chicago’s violence is a bit misleading given the fact that crime is down – by the numbers at least.

So why has Chicago gotten so much attention lately? Hadiya Pendleton’s father, Nathaniel Pendleton, says, “Yeah, statistically, crime is down. But innocent kids being killed are up.” Additionally social media has humanized the victims with detailed accounts of what their last thoughts were, how/why they were shot and even the profiles of their assailants. Some say this “in-your-face” realism brought the issue to the forefront in recent years. Add some high profile social media beefs spilling over to the streets and you’ve got what many have called a national crisis. Whatever the impetus, America has set the spotlight on Chicago and as Dukes tells WVON, he hopes to add context to that narrative.

While “Chicago Love” was well received by most, there was some valid pushback and thoughtful critiques. At the screening I attended, some felt the documentary spent too much time discussing the negative aspects of Chicago. Englewood-based journalist, Rashanah Baldwin, expounds on that perspective here. 

Others found it problematic that the heralded figures in the Doc were athletes and musicians. Towards the end, producers attempted to give the documentary a positive spin using high profile Chicagoans as an example of what’s right with the city – our beacon of hope. The light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. The concern is that viewers may be given a skewed perspective of what success really looks like for the average, upwardly mobile Chicagoan. Listen in and find out how head of news, Rahman Dukes, responded to those critiques and hear what’s next for Revolt as they continue their Windy City coverage with what Dukes calls solution-oriented programming.

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