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Watch Lena Waithe Bring The South Side To Showtime In Trailer For 'The Chi,' Premiering In January

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 18, 2017 7:11PM

Like HBO's upcoming version of Brown Girls, Showtime's The Chi is poised to train a bit of prestige TV's focus on a group of people that tends to get short shrift in popular-film and TV representation: young people of color on Chicago's South Side. And now we have an even greater sense of what to expect from the show.

Showtime on Wednesday morning released the first teaser trailer for The Chi, which was created by Master of None writer and provider of Emmy showstoppers Lena Waithe and co-executive produced by rapper Common. Both are Chicago natives.

The network also announced a premiere date: Jan. 7.

Between quick cuts and a pounding soundtrack, the trailer holds its narrative cards close to the vest, but a distinct sense of place shines through, and the clip also quickly puts faces to the names of its central characters.

Showtime describes the show as a coming-of-age drama that focuses on "an interconnected group" of black, working-class South Siders and "explores the humanity behind the headlines sensationalizing" the region.

The cast includes Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Alex Hibbert (Moonlight), Jacob Latimore (Sleight), Yolonda Ross (The Get Down) and others.

Speaking of Common and Waithe, the former joined Trevor Noah on Monday for Day One of The Daily Show's four-day stretch in Chicago, and the latter is slated to appear as guest tonight. Check out Common's interview—along with Noah's capable evisceration of Trump's Chicago-bashing—here.

It should be noted that despite The Chi's promising concept and formidable pedigree, the show didn't exactly help its cause when, as DNAinfo reported this morning, it tossed out a dumpster's worth of food while filming in the food-desert neighborhood of North Lawndale. Hopefully that's the end of that.