Ear Hustle 411 came across a story about a very talented 80 year old vocal coach from Chicago who is in danger of losing her home. She trained some of the biggest voices such as Jennifer Hudson, R. Kelly and Whitney Houston. Check out the article below.
Chicago Red Eye:
When I met vocal coach Lena McLin seven years ago, I was somewhat overwhelmed. As I walked into her South Side apartment for my first voice lesson, my eyes were instantly drawn to the plaques, awards and newspaper articles that lined her hallway. Her famous students have included R. Kelly, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson and more.
In addition to being a vocal coach, McLin is an internationally recognized composer. She has given lectures at the Peabody Institute. She has been awarded honorary degrees by Virginia Union University and Spelman College. Despite her impressive resume, McLin is a humble woman who has enjoyed teaching students in the comfort of her home for decades. Now she is in danger of losing that home.
McLin trained her students in jazz, gospel and classical vocal techniques, and her lessons took my musical performances to another level. To say it plainly, McLin helped me find my voice.
Now in her 80s, McLin is in trouble. In spite of the fact that she has composed more than 400 cantatas, masses, solo and choral arrangements and more, McLin blossomed as a musician during an era when it was common for black artists to not be properly compensated for their work. She is currently living on a teacher’s pension and is in danger of being put out on the street by folks who want to turn her famed apartment at 69th Street and Oglesby Avenue into a condo.
This is messed up for so many reasons. McLin is a legend, an elder and a woman. She has been paying rent faithfully for years, but that doesn’t matter. One of the organizers of her fundraiser stated that the board will require McLin to pay more than $17,000 to modernize her unit and convert it into condo, after which she’d have to pay an additional $130,000 to buy the unit and continue living there. I don’t know about you, but the harshness of this just breaks my heart … and pisses me off.
Unless something miraculous happens, the likelihood of McLin being able to keep her beloved home is looking grim. And with the well-documented rising rents across the city, finding housing that she will be able to afford on her modest teacher’s pension will not be an easy task.
When I learned that Mclin was in danger of being put out on the street, I immediately reached out to a mutual friend of R. Kelly so that he could inform Rob that this tragedy is happening. But I’m not just calling upon her famous former students, I’m calling on everybody in my hometown to help right this wrong. It is a travesty that this could be happening to someone who should be treasured, someone so significant that she got a shoutout from the Illinois House of Representatives on her 80th birthday! We have historical sites around Chicago that are honored and protected, but where is the love for historical people?
A GoFundMe page titled “Housing Fund for Lena McLin” has been set up by Deacon Regg Truitt to raise $25,000 to help her secure a home. Chicago is a special city. The culture and art of our town has impacted the world. Aren’t you sick of that being overlooked? I know I am. If the world won’t honor our cultural history, let’s do it ourselves. And we can start by helping McLin.
Source: Red Eye Chicago