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Showtime Lines Up ‘The Chi’ Special Before Season Premiere

(Image credit: Showtime)

Showtime will air The Chi With Love, a virtual concert dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Equal Justice Initiative, June 21, two hours before the season premiere of The Chi. Showtime and parent ViacomCBS are donating $500,000 to Equal Justice Initiative, which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights. 

The Chi creator Lena Waithe and executive producer Common will appear in the special, along with cast members such as Jacob Latimore and Chicago-based artists including Twista, Ravyn Lenae, Jamila Woods, BJ The Chicago Kid and MFnMelo.

“In this moment and always, Showtime has a responsibility to support the change our country so sorely needs,” said Michael Engelman, chief marketing officer, Showtime Networks, Inc. “We’re proud to stand with Lena and Common as storytellers and as activists as we present an evening of music, joy and reflection. Inspired by all the artists involved, it’s our hope that The Chi With Love will be just one of many catalysts designed to inspire togetherness and action.”

Showtime will release the season three premiere of The Chi for free online sampling. It will be available June 19 at 12:01 a.m. ET on YouTube and

Produced entirely in Chicago, season three sees a maturing Emmett (Latimore) trying to alter the way his mother Jada (Yolonda Ross) sees him, going from unmotivated teen to full-fledged businessman. But Jada has her sights set on her own next chapter. 

The Chi has always been a show about celebrating black life and black love even in the midst of tragedy,” said Waithe. “Now is a time for us to uplift black artists. This virtual concert not only celebrates black music, but it celebrates the beautiful black people of Chicago. This is from us, with love.” 

Waithe and Common executive produce along with Justin Hillian, Aaron Kaplan, Common, Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of Freedom Road Productions, and Rick Famuyiwa and Jet Wilkinson. 

The Chi is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios.

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.