Joe'i Chancellor is an author, songwriter, filmmaker, rapper and promoter, but there's a more significant reason why the woman known as Queen of Highland Park is a Top 40 recipient. The director of “Highland Park Hood Footage,” a songwriter who has worked with Teddy Riley and Blackstreet (among others), Chancellor also is a neighborhood activist who constantly gives back to the North Side community. And she isn't above making a loud noise. “There's a difference with people in the 'hood,” says the straight-talking Joe'i (the “I” is silent). “We need reform of the mind.”
As one of the main instigators behind the now-defunded Stop the Pain804 program, Chancellor (who wrote a 2005 anthem called “Richmond”) helped to serve as a liaison between local at-risk youth and the Richmond police. “These kids come from an environment where they fear the police,” she says, “not trust them.” She's starting a new organization, called the Links, to continue the mission.
Of late, her energy has been directed toward helping the homeless. She worked with Manter Fly Youth Development to take care of those without shelter and give them warm clothing during the last winter storm. And at holiday time she found a place to buy turkeys cheap and gave the area's indigents a real holiday meal in Monroe Park. “It took on a life of its own,” Chancellor says of the Have a Heart 4 the Homeless drive. “I felt more blessed than the homeless people.”