Hometown: A Collaborative Playlist

We found this on the website of the Obama Foundation. We think it is a neat  idea to link Memories of Home to Music. The “add song” tool is nifty too. Enjoy.

We asked you to share songs that remind you of home and inspire you to be involved in your communities. From India to Indiana, you delivered. Our first batch features Chicago, but over the next few weeks, we’ll add more and more songs that remind you of your hometown. Listen below and add your own song here.

Listen to it here:

Spotify Obama Foundation


I Am Trying to Break Your Heart by JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Submission by Cameron Esposito, comedian
I moved back home to Chicago in 2006, and the city was bursting with energy for then-Senator Obama, the new Millennium Park, and the White Sox. Wilco’s beautiful, dirge-like I Am Trying to Break Your Heart was a favorite of mine and when I heard JC Brooks’ version in 2011, after Barack Obama became President, there was so much joy it in. Felt like a street festival, like a summer bike ride. It really echoed the excitement and love I felt for my city during the end of the ’00s, and that I still feel every time I’m able to return home.

Family Business by Kanye West

Submission by Chance the Rapper, musician
Family Business by KW is the perfect song to come home to. It reminds me how important it is to be home. This is the last song on the first album I ever bought. For all the great people in Chicago, the best ones are your family.

Freedom Highway by The Staple Singers

Submission by Peter Giangreco, political strategist
Chicago’s own Staple Singers produced much of the soundtrack of the civil rights movement, including the iconic Freedom Highway. Saw Mavis Staples open for Bob Dylan at Ravinia last summer, and she killed it. Inspirational and rocking gospel-inspired anthem is as fresh now as it was 50 years ago. March each and every day…

Sweet Home Chicago by Robert Johnson

Submission by Tina Tchen, Former Assistant to President Obama, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Executive Director of the White House Council of Women and Girls & Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls

Folk might remember President Obama singing Sweet Home Chicago, but that’s not the only reason why it’s one of our favorite Chicago songs. Instead, it was a rendition by another leader, Mayor Harold Washington, that always makes us smile. He broke out in song on stage during his re-election victory speech in 1987 with such joy and warmth that washed away the ugly divisive campaign (the hard years of his first term). Sadly, we lost him just seven months later. Who knew that 25 years later we would be singing it in the White House!

Submission by Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, 2012-2017
The very day that I decided that I was moving to Chicago to start my life post-grad-school, I got in my car, turned on the radio, and Sweet Home Chicago came on. I knew it was a sign that I had chosen well. I started my career in the neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village, organizing community groups in the Catholic parishes there. I ended up running a legal services program for immigrants, which ultimately took me to D.C., the civil rights movement and, to my astonishment, President Obama’s senior White House team. I will always feel lucky that my sense of home and neighborhood was shaped by the immigrant neighborhoods of Chicago. My first-born is starting her career there now too… Sweet home, indeed!



Copyright Obama Foundation April 27th 2017

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