Tuesday, October 19, 2010:
It was finally time for the last of three events of the night... But, wait - there's a story: Earlier in the week at the W Hotel event, one of my friends stopped me to whisper in my ear on the way out. She asked what I was doing Tuesday and I told her that I had been booked all evening. She then whispered that I should make myself available later in the night for a really stellar event. She said that Kanye West was screening his new film, "Runaway" and that I would get an invitation shortly. It all seemed to secretive and I had trouble believing it - until I got an email from Marc Moran (@superfun) at 11:00p.m. that same night that simply read:
a film by Kanye West
1011 South Delano Court East
Tuesday, October 19th
10 pm cocktail - 11 pm screening
question and answer following
No recording devices, phones or cameras will be allowed inside the theater
In the interest of space we cannot allow any guests with your invitation.
STRICT LIST ENFORCED
At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to extend my 12 hour day for a few more hours. From what I had seen about Kanye in the past, I wasn't even sure if I had any interest in it. After thinking it over, I figured - you only live once. It would be an experience, if nothing else...
As Todd and I jumped a cab from the Ritz, we talked about what it may be about - as we had no clue what we were walking into. We arrived at the Icon Theater on Roosevelt shortly before 10:00p.m. and were let into the corridor area to be checked in. After some time and a few minutes catching up with Marcus Riley (NBC Chicago) and Nicole Townsend (City's Best), we were let up the stairs to check our phones, as they were not allowed into the theater. Once our phones were checked, we stood in line to be checked out by a police officer with a security wand. (It was quite the operation.) We finally got let up for a couple cocktails and shortly after, we were let into the theater (after more security wand-ing).
We sat patiently and waited for something - as we had no idea what we were going to see. I had a chance to catch up with one of my Agency Galatea models, Megan Lewis, and before we knew it - Kanye West was standing 6 feet in front of us. It was a bit surreal to see an individual that you know only through TV and radio standing right in front of you. He was incredibly modest and spoke about his journey and the growth that he had done in this past year. He talked of his dreams and how the film that we were about to see was just that - a dream of his. He commented on the negativity and powerful manipulation of the media and his desire for us all to break away from listening to everything we hear or see or read. Most importantly, he spoke to us as an individual, like any of us. He connected to each of us, and for a moment he wasn't the successful, world famous Kanye West - he was just another human being with a point of view.
The film began after Kanye expressed his passion for the project and how it all came to be - and it was breathtaking. I can't exactly put my finger on one aspect of the film that made it so amazing - or the experience. I'm not sure if it was the words he had just said, the power of his music playing throughout, or knowing that I was one of about three hundred people in Chicago to be seeing the film - but it inspired me in so many ways. After the screening, he spoke to us again, choking back tears as he talked about his younger days in Chicago and of the path that lies ahead for him. He was respectful and funny and human - and I found myself dropping everything I "knew" about him at that very moment. He perfectly ended his impromptu speech with two sentences that truly spoke to the blogger in me who strives to expose Chicago fashion and the people and the talent to the rest of the world. He said quite simply, "Being from Chicago, there is so much we can do... Because they don't see us coming."
And he's absolutely right.
I left the theater that night filled with energy and inspired by the experience I had just been given. People may doubt us as a city, or doubt you as a person - but there is no limit to what you can achieve. It's up to no one but yourself to create the life you want - and you can do it. I promise you.
My wish to everyone out there who thinks no one is listening and no one is watching and that 'it' - whatever your 'it' may be - will never happen:
'They' will take notice.
Please take a few minutes and watch
Kayne West's "Runaway" for yourself:
Kayne West's "Runaway" for yourself: