Kamau Pendergrass

Where are you from?

I am from Detroit, MI.

What brought you to Chicago?

I was originally brought to Chicago in 2010 for school when I studied Music Composition at Columbia College downtown. But me and my wife's most recent more permanent move here was a call from God. She audibly heard the voice of the Lord tell her to go and be in Chicago with her husband. Navigating the landscape of Chicago has been most challenging for me, racially, spatially, and culturally. This is such a diverse place but contained in the cities many neighborhoods are different cultures and classes. Divided seemingly very purposefully. It's been quite a shock.

Why do you stay?

I stay because I am still figuring out where we belong here. Following the spirit of God where it leads me. So far it's led me to new community.

Why do you love it?

I love Chicago because it is a truly urban environment. Classic big city. Very commutable without a car. CTA allows you to see the true chicago outside of the museum campus and sears tower areas (it's still weird to me to call it Willis tower lol)

How has community affected your time here?

I am not sure I would have been able to maintain life here without community. Though many aspects of it have been challenging, it has provided comfort, prayer, and awareness that I am not alone! In a place with millions of people who often never speak to each other that can be invaluable.

Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community? How does it inspire you?

I have been aware of and in some ways connected to Chicagos creative community even before I fully moved here. It can be international as well as very American and urban. What I love most is that it's always visible. Creative things and people are everywhere you look.

When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?

In Chicago I feel most empowered and comfortable in my skin on the trains. More often than not there are other black people on the train which gives me a familiar feeling. It's empowering because I know at any given time I can get almost anywhere in this City and the more I ride the more I understand how the city is intertwined and can put the city under my foot and in my grasp.

How has Chicago affected your worldview, if at all?

Living in Chicago has shaped my worldview by making me more aware of the falseness behind "liberal" America. In a simple way looking at neighborhoods and how they have changed and shifted who occupies them and how long they have been there. As well as how their presence effects the culture there is a simple example. I also feel like I have become more aware of how different customs

If you're in a season of distance from God, what are your questions / struggles? On the contrary, if you're experiencing closeness with God, how might you encourage our brothers and sisters who are wrestling with believing God is real and for us?

Since moving to Chicago I have been struggling with direction and purpose. I often feel a strong conviction and determination about some things. Other things I feel like I have no clue what to do or what God's intention for me is.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your time in Chicago?

Overall I feel like Chicago has shown me that I really don't know much at all. For all the Vision I have artistically, for my family, and for my personal spiritual growth I really don't know what any of that looks like in the future.