She was born in Baltimore, Maryland by Igbo parents who migrated to the US in the 70’s.
She has a law degree and a PhD Educational Policy Studies where she specialized in evaluation methodology. She is fluent in Igbo, Spanish, French, and Portuguese and maintains reading and writing proficiency in Italian.
Kanye West gives $73K to Chicago mayoral candidate Amara Enyia, who is backed by Chance the Rapper
When Chance the Rapper endorsed little-known candidate Amara Enyia for Chicago mayor last week, she had just $67.54 in her campaign bank account and faced tens of thousands of dollars in fines from the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Chance’s backing has appeared to pay off with at least one donor for Enyia — Kanye West, who has contributed $73,540 to her campaign, records show.
The donation is the exact amount in fines Enyia faced from state election officials in connection with her brief 2015 campaign for mayor, and the West Side activist’s campaign confirmed she used West’s money to pay the penalties.
Enyia dropped her bid for mayor four years ago after the petition signatures she collected to appear on the ballot were challenged, but she never closed her campaign account and was fined by state election officials for not filing quarterly campaign finance reports as required by law. Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich told the Chicago Tribune last week that in order for Enyia to run for mayor she would have to have the fines paid by Dec. 20, the day the Chicago mayoral ballot is certified. Dietrich confirmed that Enyia had been in contact with state officials and was expected to present a settlement offer to resolve the fines at the board’s November meeting.
West’s contribution eased the situation. Enyia’s campaign released a statement saying “the $73,540 debt to the Illinois State Board of Elections has been paid in full.”
“The Amara Enyia campaign thanks Chicago native, Kanye West, for his generous action,” the statement read. “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.”
West’s contribution could present some political land mines for Enyia to navigate in a race where many candidates, her included, are jockeying for the progressive mantle. West has not been shy about his ardent support for President Donald Trump, frequently sporting the Republican’s red trademark “Make America Great Again” hat — including during a trip to the West Wing earlier this month. West appeared in an Oval Office meeting with Trump where the two discussed Chicago violence, among other issues.
Before Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the stunning announcement last month that he would not seek a third term, he had launched attacks against former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for the self-proclaimed conservative Democrat’s ties to Trump. Emanuel released a web ad featuring a clip of Trump speaking glowingly of McCarthy, although without mentioning him by name, while highlighting ties to Trump’s ally and attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Enyia could face similar criticism from other candidates for West’s status as a top celebrity Trump booster. It wouldn’t take a political strategist long to imagine a mailer or video featuring a photo of West hugging Trump, a flat-billed MAGA hat placed firmly on his head.
However, the famous hip-hop artist and designer also has done charitable work in Chicago separate from his political support of Trump that Enyia could highlight. And with less than $100 in her campaign fund, Enyia also could not afford to be all that selective at this early stage in the campaign.
How exactly West came to agree to pay Enyia’s election board fines in unclear. Enyia could not be reached for comment and her campaign said she was unavailable Monday for an interview.
The donation from West comes after Enyia received the Chance endorsement last week. Chance and West are friends and collaborators, two Chicago natives who have enjoyed a meteoric rise in the music industry and beyond.
Last week the 25-year-old star rapper, who was born Chancelor Bennett, said he was backing Enyia, a policy consultant and director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, because they shared a vision on how to better Chicago and lift up its most economically challenged areas.
“I want to work with somebody who is about change, somebody who is about our community, somebody who is about equity, somebody who is about fairness,” Chance said at the City Hall news conference. “And the one person in my research of this wide-open race that’s views align with me would obviously be candidate Amara Enyia.”
Enyia promised Chance’s backing would have staying power.
“This is not your typical flash-in-the-pan endorsement,” Enyia said. “Today represents a commitment, the commitment that Chance and I and the hundreds of people that we’ve organized with, advocated with and worked alongside. Today is the beginning of Chicago’s next level.”
And on Monday, West delivered.