People Profiles|Maurice “Pha’tal” Perkins

Pha’tal, Englewood Rising profile

Pha’tal, a rising star in Chicago’s underground rap scene, uses his position in the spotlight to make a difference in Englewood, the community where he was born, raised and still calls home.  He believes in giving back and says it’s his mission to serve as a positive influence and role model for youth in his neighborhood.

“As someone who has a voice in the community, I felt obligated to do things and be the person I never had growing up.  I was born and raised in Englewood.  I’ve been there, and I know what these kids are going through.”

The local artist and rapper is the founder of Think Outside Da Block, a non-profit that’s vision is to enhance young people’s interests, skills, and abilities through productive activities and communications. The organization provides youth with positive influences and opportunities, ranging from bowling and skate parties, youth rallies, and summertime festivals to Thanksgiving turkey giveaways and Christmas toy drives.

“In our community, we refer to wherever we’re from as ‘the block,’” he says.  “I want kids to think beyond the four corners they hang out on.  The world is so big and there are no limits.”

Pha’tal was also one of the organizers of the Englewood Back to School Parade; co-founder of “We R Englewood”; and co-creator of Ogden Park’s Initiate Art program, which helps youth spark and nurture artistic interests such as writing, drawing, videography, photography, dancing, singing, rapping and painting.

“My goal with all this is to promote entrepreneurship amongst youth and redefine what success means to them.  They think you have to be on TV to be successful or have money or drive a fancy car.  I try to promote that if there’s something you love to do, to be able to wake up and do that something and provide for yourself and your family is success.”

This is #EnglewoodRising.

Maurice Pha'tal Perkins

Photography by Tonika Johnson