One more Robert Chew thought here. I know for most people, The Wire is primarily entertainment. The deeper social meanings do resonate, I think, for most viewers, but in the end, it doesn't reflect anything close to the life you're actually living, so when you turn of the television or eject the DVD, it goes away. But for those of us who call Baltimore home, who raise families here, someone like Robert Chew is more than just charismatic character who reads David Simon's funny lines and social commentary. Chew was someone who was out there actually trying to fight the impossible fight to make the city a better place. He was a teacher who worked really hard to give kids growing up in the inner city exposure to the arts, which no an easy task, especially when you consider that art is always first on the chopping block when people criticize the school system and insist we need to trim the budget to get rid of "waste."
Baltimore is broken place in many ways, just like so many American cities. But it's a beautiful place too. The Wire is really a love letter to it, deep down, which I think some people fail understand. You can't love the city without recognizing the realities of it, and wish that much of it could be better. But there are people who live here -- teachers, coaches, civil servants -- who dedicate years of their lives in virtual anonymity striving to make whatever small difference they can. Chew was one of those people. This city can be a frustrating place sometimes. I've interviewed plenty of good people who grow weary of the struggle, that their voices aren't being heard and the drug problem, the gang problem, and economic inequality continue to win, round after round. But they get off their stool anyway when the bell rings, and they try to make a difference in someone's life. Because this is their home.
At some point, this became my home too. And Chew was one of those people who made me feel like the fight was worth it, even we're not winning.
After you get done quoting some of Prop Joe's best lines -- "Look the part, be the part mutherf-----!" read a little about the man who breathed life into David Simon's words, and helped a number of kids earn opportunities that hopefully changed their lives.