Mar 8, 2024 - Politics

The Strokes lend Kina Collins' campaign a hand

The band The Strokes standing together

The Strokes in 2011. Photo by David Becker/WireImage

The Strokes, a Grammy-winning New York City rock band, are getting involved in Chicago politics, but one local candidate is pushing back.

The big picture: The band is headlining a fundraiser concert in Chicago tonight for Kina Collins' 7th Congressional District campaign, alongside Chicago acts NNAMDI and Beach Bunny.

  • It's the second time the band has performed a benefit for Collins for the West Side seat, where a contingent of predominantly older, Black voters have helped re-elect Rep. Danny Davis for the last 25 years.

Context: Collins tells Axios she met The Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas at a fundraising party for her in NYC and they connected over shared progressive ideologies.

  • "He's really into independent candidates that are not pushed by machine party bosses [but] scrappy, upstart candidate campaigns and organizers," she says.

State of play: Collins' opponent Melissa Conyears-Ervin has raised concerns about Friday night's concert at UIC's Credit Union 1 Arena. Her lawyers sent a letter to the band's lawyers and UIC's legal counsel last month, alleging that the event may be violating campaign finance laws.

  • Collins attributes the criticism to "a little bit of salt being thrown our way because this is probably the biggest political event of the primary season in the city of Chicago."
  • The candidate adds that the band's 2022 concert for her was not flagged by the FEC.
  • A UIC spokesperson tells Axios the university is reviewing the matter and "a UIC rental agreement does not constitute endorsement, sponsorship or support for any particular speaker or organization."

What they're saying: In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the band said: "We need more people like [Collins] in government and hopefully this is the beginning of a much-needed groundswell of justice-minded citizens replacing the old guard of corporate-approved defalcators and bribe-taking pilferers."

  • The band also said they consider the Democratic primary candidate an independent.

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