Summertime in Chicago is always a fun time especially when there’s so much positive events for the children to participate in and show off their talents for the world to see. There’s no better place than the world reknown Bud Billiken Day Parade which takes place every 2nd Saturday in August and will be celebrating it’s 90th Year in existence.
Bud Billiken Day Parade has always set the tone for all the children in the Chicagoland area and across the world for their entrance back into school. The parade brings not just people of color but all children, parents, businesses and people in entertainment together on one accord to help prepare our youth for a successful back to school mentality.
EarHustle411’s Media Correspondent SunShyne had an opportunity to conversate with Chicago Defender Charities CEO Myiti Sengstacke-Rice.
EarHustle411: Good Morning, Good Morning!! We are so excited to meet and interview you this morning as we are also so very ecstatic about the 90th Annual Bud Billiken Parade.
Myiti Sengstacke-Rice: Thank you, it’s nice to meet you and im so very excited as well.
EH411: Continuing the legacy of Chicago Defender Charities now renamed Robert Sengstacke Abbott Fojndation and being a 4th Generation overseer, do you feel any pressure as you follow in your predecessors footsteps?
MSR: No..it doesn’t feel like pressure, it feels like something i know I’m my core that I need to do in my purpose and in my purpose if feels a little different. I’m actually grateful and excited about and to carry on as he 4th generation. I have to recognize that the Chicago Defender legacy is so amazing for our community, the nation and even on an international scale, youre talking about 114 years of publishing and then 90 years of Bud Billiken. When i compass all the things that founders created, we decided to changed the name from the Chicago Defender Charities to the Robert Sengstacke Abbott Foundation to honor the legacy that he began in 1905 and in 1929.
EH411: My Gosh!! That’s so awesome!! That”s such a rich legacy and that’s what we here at EarHustle411 love about it. When you hear the Sengstacke name, we automatically know it’s connected to the Chicago Defender and the Defender is connected to Chicago. Chicago is a great place, we love it here. No place is without its issues, Chicago has overcome adversity before and it will do it again.
MSR: Yes indeed!! I most certainly agree!!
EH411: The Grand Marshal is an important feature of the parade who were some of your favorite past Grand Marshalls?
MSR: It goes back a long way; Oh my goodness.
I remember when Earth, Wind & Fire came and I was just able to see them at the Jazz Fest in Cincinnati but Muhammad Ali and he would come several times over many years. I was just looking at some of our vintage Archive images. Muhammad was at the parade almost every year. Michael Jordan and of course more current Obama. When TI came I was super excited. Vic Mensa did an awesome job last year. It’s so many..Tyler Perry, it’s just a star studded event.
EH411: So would it be safe for me to say you don’t have top favorite?
MSR: No….I would say my favorite would be that everybody comes out to support us and that like my favorite part of all of it. It’s the love, like Lil Rel Howery is this year’s Grand Marshal.
He’s about to have four movies come out and he says the parade is the highlight for him. People like Dwayne Wade said the Bud Billiken Parade raised him and his brothers. That touches my heart because everybody has a Bud Billiken story. Of course these kids that work hard and practice, that’s really my favorite because they get together and work. It’s a competition for them. It’s not about just marching down the street. They actually perform to win and to see who was the best Drill Team, Dance Team Cheerleading Squad and Marching Band. We have those four categories and it’s just bragging rights for them and they look forward to it.
EH411: Now has it always been a competition or was that something that came along in the later years of the parade?
MSR: it’s always been a competition. It just hasn’t for some reason been boosted and put out there and publicized to the level it should’ve been. We’re going to start doing that because people need to understand what makes our parade unique and different. There are some stops and starts and we’ve narrowed it down to two instead of several throughout the parade but the kids stop to perform for 30 to 60 seconds. There’s judges at the end and the kids call it the Grand Finale
EH411: that’s great!! The kids have a great time and it’s their time to shine. Our next question is did you ever think you’d be in the top position at Chicago Defender Charities?
MSR: Yes! My grandfather John Sengstacke founded Chicago Defender Charities in 1945 which always produced the Bud Billiken. So in my growing up and it’s a family business. I always know growing up I’d have some type of involvement. Sometimes not sure what level or what position. I’ve done everything from copy editing to making copies at the newspaper, so I’ve done a little bit of everything.
EH411: WOW!! Your just a lady of all trades!! Are there some seek peeks you can share with us coming about?
MSR: The exciting thing is we have the amazing ABC7 That supporting us. They’re our media partner, it will be live from 10am to 12:30pm. Of course Cheryl Burton, Hosea Sanders and Terrell Brown will be there to support. Then in the park we have.. it’s called “It takes a village” and it’s a place where all of our sponsors come together and our community supporters and people who just want to support and get our kids ready for back to school. There’s free school supplies, giveaways, food, fun and music, performances. There’s also going to be free hair cuts for the boys and hair braiding for the girls. Uber and the Obama Foundation will be out there lending their support. The Bulls, BlackHawks, White Sox, Cubs all the hometown sports teams are coming out to support Bud Billiken.
EH411: That’s amazing!! Can you tell us how more vendors and potential sponsors can send in their their information so they can be a part of Bud Billiken next year?
MSR: They can go to www.budbillikenparade.org and there they can register and can give us a call for any questions they have, all the information is there. But this year come out and have fun and it’s been reported, the weatherman said it’s going to be a beautiful day for Bud Billiken. I was super excited when he said that.
EH411: We are so excited for you too and we appreciate you taking a moment of your time to spend with us. We wish you much continued success with the Bud Billiken and the Robert Sengstacke Abbott Foundation.
MSR: No we thank you for your support!!
EarHustle411 and the writing staff sends our congratulations to Myiti Sengstacke-Rice and everyone at the Robert Sengstacke Abbott Foundation a very Happy 90th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade