Amara Enyia explains how she got Kanye West’s backing for Chicago mayor; he makes cameo at her rally

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Mayoral hopeful Amara Enyia began navigating the political waves around her latest celebrity support from Kanye West on Tuesday, emphasizing the entertainment star’s agreement with her on key issues facing Chicago over his enthusiastic support for Republican President Donald Trump

West, who gave Enyia $73,540 toward her campaign fund Monday, appeared at a rally with her and Chance the Rapper in Woodlawn Tuesday, but did not speak. West’s donation, which Enyia used to pay off a fine in the exact amount that she faced with state election officials, came on the heels of Chance’s high-profile City Hall endorsement of the West Side community organizer and activist last week.

Chance’s advocacy for Chicago — and his two $1 million contributions to Chicago Public Schools and the expansion of mental health access — and his support for Enyia’s campaign represented a more simple embrace for the 35-year-old candidate. With West, things are more complicated.

The famous hip-hop artist and designer who enjoys a worldwide recognition and 24 million Twitter followers has been a visible booster for Trump, a divisive politician reviled in many corners of deep blue Chicago. West also has made controversial statements describing slavery as a “choice” and pushing for abolishing the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery. West later apologized for and clarified the remarks, but they created a political stir nonetheless.

Enyia has dubbed such community events a “pull-up” and she plans many more of them as she embarks on the dual goals of attracting attention to her campaign positions while gathering the necessary signatures to get on the ballot this time.

“We believe our responsibility is to expand the electorate. We don’t want to just focus on the 30 percent of registered voters. There is a universe of 70 percent of the people who are looking for something to get them involved,” Enyia said. “So, this is one of those very visible ways of engaging people where they are, getting a message out, speaking about our vision for Chicago and at the same time collecting the signatures we need to get on the ballot.”

bruthhart@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @BillRuthhart

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October 23, 2018 at 02:36PM

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