The Chi is one of the most beloved African-American series on television. Created by Lena Waithe, the series takes place in the South Side of Chicago and follows the lives of Emmett, Kevin, Papa, and a few others.
Aside from bringing the realities of living in Chicago’s South Side to the mainstream, The Chi also lets viewers grow with the young cast. With 6 seasons finished, and a 7th on the way, the characters in the show have changed considerably since they first appeared in season 1.
Emmett - From Trapped Boy to Businessman
Emmett (Jacob Latimore) starts Season 1 as a charismatic 16-year-old sneakerhead. His father is involved in a gang, and his mother is an addict. He works as a fry cook, trying to support both his and Tiffany’s baby and his expensive side hustle. But while Emmett tries to support his child, he is also naive and gets lured into the streets selling drugs and making all kinds of mistakes.
In Seasons 2 and 3, he is kicked out of the house by his mother, but rather than getting deeper into crime, he tries to take more responsibility. However, he constantly has problems staying loyal.
At the end of Season 3, Emmett marries Tiffany and promises to stay loyal, which he immediately breaks at the start of Season 4. He eventually confesses to Tiffany, even though that ends their relationship in Season 5.
Emmett starts Season 6 as a completely different person from the first season. Where once he was young and naive, he’s now mature, has a flourishing business, and is aware of the problems he created, but is doing what he can to solve them.
Kevin - From Carefree Kid to Serious Friend
Kevin, played by Alex R. Hibbard, starts Season 1 as a good kid from a good home before he witnesses a murder that puts him in a precarious situation. Despite this, unlike some of the characters, Kevin is definitely still a kid.
In Seasons 2-3, you can see Kevin starting to grow up. His friendship with Papa and Jake starts to grow stronger, and his decisions start becoming more mature and thought-out.
In Seasons 4-5, Kevin goes from having happy crushes and begins to take his love interests more seriously. He also gets into gaming and struggles to balance dating and his gaming competitions.
At the start of Season 6, Kevin’s relationships with family and friends have greatly deepened.
Papa - From Comical Relief to Deep Character
Kevin’s best friend, Papa (Shamon Brown Jr.) starts Season 1 as the funny kid who always brings the laughs. He doesn’t have a notable storyline in the first two seasons other than being the teasy friend of Jake and Kevin.
By Season 3, Papa starts to develop feelings for Maisha, and he slowly goes from the comic to a more serious character.
In the following seasons, there are moments when Papa’s friendship is tested. There were hard times when his father was arrested. And overall, he goes from comical relief to a maturing man with a deep character after all he’s been through. Now, we just have to wait for Season 7 to see where these characters go next.