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TikTok Historian Shermann ‘Dilla’ Thomas Lands New Tour Bus For His Chicago Lessons After Months Of Fundraising

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AUBURN GRESHAM — Chicago’s favorite urban historian has a cool new ride to zip around town, and his first goal is to offer more tours exploring the city’s history.

After months of fundraising and community support, Shermann “Dilla” Thomas secured the funds to purchase a tour bus. The TikTok star, known as 6figga_dilla, can now bring his history lessons from your phone to the real world with Chicago Mahogany Tours for an affordable price, he said.

Donations from corporate sponsors, sports teams, celebrities like Chance the Rapper and actor Thomas Lennon and “everyday Chicagoans” helped Thomas raise a deposit for the $300,000 bus, a-t -he declares. He will continue to pay to own the bus, he said.

To offer tours through the South Side, Thomas would pay bus companies up to $1,300 per tour to rent a bus, he said. Now that he has his bus, he can reduce the cost of neighborhood tours, offer more free tours to students, and take his history lessons across the city, one neighborhood at a time.

“It’s the stories I tell that people donate to,” Thomas said. “I’m just a vessel. It’s the stories that matter. »

The “modern” all-white bus is decorated with monitors and massive windows, Thomas said.

Soon, Monitors will be streaming Thomas’s TikToks. So when the bus stops at a historic site, neighbors can watch archival footage while looking out the window at living history, Thomas said.

The bus design will include Thomas’ face with the Chicago Mahogany logo, Thomas said. “Everything dope about America comes from Chicago,” a slogan invented by Thomas, will be taped to the side of the bus, he said.

Inside the bus, Thomas hopes to commission an artist to paint a mural honoring “all sides of the city,” he said.

“When people get on the bus and see it, we want it to exude Chicago pride,” Thomas said. “I want us to feel better about ourselves.”

RELATED: TikTok’s Dilla, the Urban Historian, Educates Followers and Challenges Chicago Stereotypes – 60 Seconds at a Time

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Shermann Thomas, known for posting about Chicago history via his Tik Tok account @6figga_dilla, poses for a portrait outside Cook Elementary School Ð where Thomas attended as a youth Ð in the Auburn neighborhood Gresham on May 11, 2021.

Thomas will host another fundraiser in December at 875 North Michigan — formerly known as the John Hancock Center — to thank donors and raise enough money to sponsor neighborhood tours for 50 schools, he said. .

In the meantime, Thomas remains busy working out the details of his untitled Netflix show and applying for grants for more free tours, he said. Chicago Mahogany Tours recently achieved certification as a non-profit organization.

Thomas also hopes to continue touring Englewood with artist Tonika Johnson, he said.

Someday soon, Thomas hopes to open a “micro-museum” at the former site of the Paul Cuffee Math Science Academy in Auburn Gresham, he said. Attendees will be able to wear Oculus VR headsets and learn more about the city “in the metaverse,” he said.

Thomas wants to name it GRACE Museum of South Side History after Gresham, Roseland, Auburn, Chatham and Englewood, he said.

“I recognize that I have a particular delivery style that people appreciate, but I’m just the person delivering the message,” Thomas said. “Chicago’s history is what unites us.”

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