On Thursday, Feb. 23, 2022, Public Narrative hosted its second Unpacking Narratives event featuring the theme, “Black, Male and Under Scrutiny” discussed by Butler College Prep student Blair Jackson and City Cast Chicago podcast host Jacoby Cochran.

With Jackson, a budding storyteller, and Cochran, a professional one mastering his craft, the Chicago South Siders explored how growing up in their respective parts of town influenced how they show up in the world today, in their lives, their communities and in their work— amidst harmful narratives and ongoing violence toward Black people, especially young men and boys.

About the speakers

Blair Jackson is a student in his senior year at Butler College Preparatory High School.

Jackson is also an artist, writer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of 4417 Creations, a digital media entity. He also created Lynx House, a platform where he provides creatives at Butler College Prep space to showcase their talents. As a growing artist, he aims to expose people of color to underrepresented avenues in the arts.

Jackson is currently enrolled in an Intro to Journalism course, a first of its kind at Butler College Prep in partnership with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Public Narrative. In 2021, Blair participated in the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’s Narrative Change Committee in partnership with Public Narrative.

Jacoby Cochran is a writer, educator and storyteller. He is also the award-winning host of City Cast Chicago, a local daily podcast aimed to better connect its listeners to their city.

When not on the podcast, Cochran can be found performing, speaking publicly and leading various workshops around Chicago and across the country. Some of his clients include corporations like Google, Spotify, AT&T, Chicago Bulls, Best Buy and Kohl’s, as well as nonprofits like The Moth, Boys & Girls Club and the American Writers Museum.

The Chicago native is also a communications adjunct professor with City Colleges and DePaul University. He currently teaches communication studies at Elgin Community College.

Our partner

Thank you to our venue partner the Logan Center for the Arts, which provided its Café Logan establishment as our event space for February’s conversation. The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts advances arts practice, inquiry, and presentation at the University of Chicago, and fosters meaningful collaboration and cultural engagement at the university, on the South Side, and in the city of Chicago.

We’d also like to thank Ms. Marria Rahim, Intro to Journalism teacher at Butler College Prep, for her assistance in coordinating Jackson’s availability throughout the production of this event.


Photography of the event was taken by Olivia Obineme with assistance and video production by Connor Sorrell, Public Narrative intern and Adler University student.

Want to see more of these events? Continue to support Public Narrative! We’re thankful to our narrative change community.