Black Mom-And-Son Duo Host 10th Annual Talent Showcase And Resource Expo In Chicago

Natalie Manning and her son, Dorian, are the founders of This Is Life, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization they created 10 years ago to offer a platform showcasing the talents of Chicago youth. This Is Life also provides resources for families seeking solutions to the constant issue of violence in their communities.

On Saturday, June 24, the Mannings held the highly anticipated 10th annual This Is Life Youth Talent Showcase & Resource Expo. It was hosted by Chicago’s own Mr. “Aww Yea” El Hitta, with sounds provided by DJ Fly Ty.

Natalie got the party started by writing, “Let’s start the summer off on a positive note! Now more than ever, the world needs to shift into a more loving, joyful, and positive space for our youth to dwell!”

Chicago youth artists and group participants presented their artistic gifts to inspire positive attitudes toward youth-led movements and increase peace. The event took place at The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center in Chicago’s Englewood community.

“We wanted young people to realize their worth and give them a platform to express themselves,” said Natalie.

The purpose of This Is Life is to provide youth with a safe environment to develop their creative strengths, build genuine relationships, expand their fan base, and shift the media’s focus of Chicago’s youth from defeated to optimistic. The movement has produced hip-hop artist Nia Kay, Hxllywood, and performing artist Lil Kemo.

This Is Life progressed from a single song to producing a series of events highlighting thousands of national and local youth artists as well the development of a Chicago-themed clothing line.

A recipient of the 2023 Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities, the organization’s annual Youth Talent Showcase & Resource Expo offered free admission to the public. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are still available for other activities this summer. To apply, email

This Is Life is a tax-exempt organization accepting donations which help fund its annual back-to-school giveaways, winter toy drives, seasonal city tour trips, and more. For more information, please visit for more details on how to support the cause and positively impact one youth at a time.

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