Television

‘City So Real’ Delivers A Complex Portrait Of Chicago & It’s A Must See

And you say Chi City…Tonight, National Geographic will air their highly anticipated documentary, “City So Real,” in an unprecedented one-night, five-hour, commercial-free event beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The five-part documentary series from Oscar-nominated documentarian Steve James delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America’s third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown. 

The series begins in the haze of mid-summer 2018 as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, embroiled in accusations of a cover-up related to the police shooting of an African American teenager, Laquan McDonald, shocks the city by announcing he won’t seek re-election. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge in a diverse and crowded field as they engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape the city’s uncertain future. 

The final episode of the series picks up a year after the mayoral election in 2020, as the city simultaneously grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the police killing of George Floyd. An already fractured city is further divided by the economic, political, and social fallout, which plays out on the city streets as police clash with protesters, bringing rise to a generational moment that promises to change the city forever. In candid interviews with residents throughout the city, the series captures Chicago’s indomitable spirit as well as its seemingly insurmountable challenges.

“City So Real” is a gritty and loving depiction of a quintessentially American city that is at once fiercely unique and a microcosm of the nation ⎯ and our world ⎯ as a whole.

Watch the trailer below:

I had the pleasure and opportunity to screen the documentary early and I was completely enthralled by each episode.

Not only did the film deliver an unfiltered view of the unprecedented 2019 mayoral race, but it also gave me a deeper understanding of the heart of the city and the beautiful people inside of it.

On Sunday, October 26, Nat Geo held an amazing invite-only virtual premiere for episode 5 of “City So Real” titled, “You gotta make it or you gotta take it.”

The virtual event opened with remarks from Chicago native and legendary recording artist Chaka Khan and spoken word from Rhymefest.

There were special musical performances by Durand Jones & The Indications, G.L.U.T.O. and Resavoir.

Following the screening of episode 5, there was a panel discussion featuring filmmaker Steve James, producer Zak Piper, field producer Janea Smith, as well Amara Enyia, Maze Jackson, and Neal Sáles-Griffin, who were featured in the documentary.

The panel was moderated by Sunny Hostin of “The View.” 

You do not want to miss this unprecedented one-night, five-hour, commercial-free event tonight, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.

All five episodes of “City So Real” will be available on Hulu tomorrow – Friday, October 30. 

Visit CitySoReal.Film for more scoop.

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Xaviera Bryant is the CEO and Founder of Ice Cream Conversations. She's a self-made entrepreneur with over 13 years of experience as an entertainment writer with integrity...and a sense of humor.
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