An Evening with Barack Obama and Chance the Rapper


The Obama Foundation Summit was a two-day leadership gathering organized by former President Barack Obama and was held at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena on October 31 and November 1. The summit brought together civic leaders from across the globe to exchange ideas and explore solutions to social problems, and closed with a concert headlined by Chance the Rapper. Nick Su, a student in the Weekend MBA Program, was one of two Booth students to receive tickets to the event, and is happy to share his experience.

Photo of concert at the Obama Foundation SummitI couldn’t be more thankful to be one of the two lucky Chicago Booth students to attend the closing concert of the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit.

As an avid concert-goer, I was more than excited about this opportunity. Chance is enjoying a fantastic year, having won three Grammy awards and headlined at Lollapalooza, so this was an incredible time to see the musician as well as many other well-known performers.

The former president had already given closing remarks at the summit earlier in the day, so I did not anticipate seeing him at the concert. When Chance invited both Michelle and Barack Obama to the stage, the entire stadium was set on fire! Attendees enthusiastically cheered for several moments. The Obamas spoke to the audience, explaining the Obama Foundation’s goal to expose young people to more opportunities and to build a better community. The talk was inspiring and genuine, expressing their desire to make Chicago better.

Photo of concert at the Obama Foundation SummitTheir remarks were followed by a formidable lineup, including Gloria Estefan, Brandi Carlile, and The National. Actors Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari also appeared, introducing hip-hop artist Nas, another surprise guest. In between sets, pre-taped interviews with civic leaders were played, showcasing ways that young people solve societal issues and make a difference. Rihanna also appeared via video to show her support for the Obama Foundation.

The concert culminated in Chance’s performance of a mix of new and older songs. Francis and the Lights joined Chance to perform “May I Have This Dance.” Unexpectedly, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda joined Chance onstage to perform “Dear Theodosia” from the musical. The crowd, including me, went wild when Lin-Manuel showed up. Chance ended the concert with fireworks and a phenomenal performance of “No Problem.”  

I left inspired and thankful.


A headshot of author Nick Su Nick Su was one of two Booth students to receive a ticket to the Obama Summit closing concert from the Obama Foundation, Office of Civic Engagement, and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.