Kanye West on Monday donated $73,540 to the longshot mayoral campaign of Amara Enyia, six days after Chance the Rapper’s celebrity endorsement elevated Enyia in the crowded race to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The infusion of cash also comes just 11 days after West’s face-to-face talk with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office made national headlines.
The sizeable donation is the first concrete sign that Chance’s surprise endorsement of Enyia is translating into hard cash for the woman who currently serves as executive director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, who needs to introduce herself to Chicago voters to have any hope of standing out in the crowd.
A political strategist not aligned with anyone in the race for mayor said Enyia’s campaign is “becoming real” with Kanye’s contribution.
“If Chance does one concert for her, she can raise several hundred thousand in one day,” the strategist said.
At the close of the third-quarter, Enyia reported having just $67.54 in the bank.
The candidate said she has already used West’s contribution to settle a $73,540 debt to the Illinois State Board of Elections stemming from filing fees and penalties never paid that must be resolved before she can get on the mayoral ballot.
“The $73,540 debt to the Illinois State Board of Elections has been paid in full,” the Enyia campaign declared in an emailed statement.
“The Amara Enyia campaign thanks Chicago native, Kanye West, for his generous action. Amara’s campaign is energizing people around the city with bold ideas and solutions that move Chicago forward. We are excited to engage people of all walks of life as we focus our efforts on getting on the ballot.”
County Commissioner Stanley Moore, who has endorsed County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, said Enyia’s decision to accept West’s donation opens up a whole new line of questioning.
“If you accept money from a person like Kanye West, are you also endorsing his stance on Donald Trump?” Moore said.
“Kanye West has made comments in the past about slavery being the slave’s fault. He has talked about abolishing the 13th amendment. This opens the door for Amara to answer questions about whether or not she is embracing these same philosophies. Is she embracing Trump’s policies that hurt African-Americans?”
Enyia did not return phone calls.
Last week, Enyia told the Chicago Sun-Times that Chance was not only throwing his celebrity power and fundraising muscle behind her candidacy. He’s giving her his time and his ideas on how to confront Chicago’s most vexing issues.
“Typically, with celebrity endorsements, it’s sort of a flash-in-the-pan, one-shot deal….We actually are going to be working together and co-campaigning…essentially until the end of the election cycle,” she said then.
“We have many events planned where we’re gonna be talking about key issues around Chicago’s economy, around education—a lot of things that we’ve been active on. We also have a lot of grassroots events that we’ll be doing out in the community … just rallying people. And of course fundraisers as well. And tapping into all of our networks to … create a groundswell of excitement and enthusiasm about the campaign.”
On the day he dramatically elevated Enyia’s long-shot candidacy with his celebrity endorsement, Chance vowed to launch a “massive” voter registration drive to get her elected.
“I’d like to say very narcissistically, if I back you, you have a chance—absolutely,” the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist told a jam-packed City Hall news conference. Source: Chicago Sun-Times