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Chuck D of Public Enemy featured speaker for lecture series


Jason Browne



This isn''t your grandfather''s lecture series. Unless your grandfather digs hip-hop. 


The Ina E. Gordy Honors College at Mississippi University for Women will open its 2010 Forum Series Thursday with a lecture titled "Chuck D, Public Enemy and the Beginning of Modern Day Hip Hop," followed by a Feb. 11 lecture from Chuck D, himself. 


Dr. Thomas Velek, director of the Gordy Honors College, who will present the opening lecture, is hoping to supplement the series'' academic rigor with a healthy dose of social relevance. 


"The honors series used to be professors getting up and talking about what they''re doing in class. We need to present a good, dynamic, interesting, energetic series that gets people to campus. It''s all about making things at The W interesting and important to the community," said Velek. 


Chuck D, co-founder and front-man of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, has seen his popularity as a mainstream musician wane significantly since the mid-90s. Since then, he''s parlayed his celebrity status and notoriety for socially and politically conscious rhymes into a second career as a public speaker and political activist. He''ll present a lecture titled "Race, Rap and Reality." 


Velek''s lecture will stand alone as an examination of the social change surrounding and inspired by hip-hop in the late ''80s and early ''90s, but will also provide a foundation of knowledge on the impact made by Public Enemy. 


"What I''m talking about is the arrival of Run-DMC, NWA and Public Enemy and how they brought a harder edge. A much more socially conscious and more visible presence to hip-hop," explained Velek. "Before them hip-hop had been seen as party music. These groups used it to shine a light on social issues." 


He says the honors forum has sought to bring "fairly high profile individuals" to MUW to speak on relevant topics and, at the same time, generate interest in the community. 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment Flava Flav commented at 1/25/2010 9:33:00 AM:



Article Comment eminem commented at 1/25/2010 11:09:00 AM:

Hip hop has probably done more to dummy down our youth than anything else i can think of. Kids today speak in a language that is considered "hip hop" that makes them sound uneducated. They dress in ways that are considered "hip hop" that make them look uneducated. They act in ways that would be considered "edgy" or "hip hop" that would make you think they've never set foot in a class room. Why in the world would an institute for high learning bring a fellow to speak about hip hop. I realize country music, rock and roll, and other areas of music have their cons, but they are not nearly on the same level as hip hop, and I would have the same comments if the fellow coming to speak were an artist of those genres as well.


Article Comment Thom Geiger commented at 1/26/2010 8:47:00 PM:

I can understand, while not agreeing with, a misplaced desire to appeal to the young people of today, who have little knowledge or understanding of the dynamics of race hate and bigotry, gender bias and homophobia, or who couldn't care less about any of that, but this troubles me.
At a time when the survival of MUW (not just whether the name remains the same or not) hangs on a thread, the university is following in the footsteps of Columbia and its invitation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Controversy is definitely not the way to engender the institution to the public, contrary to what boosters or poli-sci majors might think.
For the W to invite a bigoted, anti-Semitic, homophobic misogynist has damaged it in my personal opinion. Trying to deflect that by claiming Carlton Ridenhour is a music innovator is like inviting Hitler to speak on expression through water colors because he was an artist who worked in the medium.
My question is, if this is going to be a trend at the W, who's next?


Article Comment argyle commented at 2/5/2010 11:07:00 AM:

You have no idea what you're talking about. I suppose your opinion that Chuck D is any of those things that you mentioned stems from your inability to put song lyrics of the past in context. It is art after all and Public Enemy had a message, which, judging from your misguided post, probably challenged your precious status quo. My guess is that you feel threatened that this intelligent black man has something to say. Also, Hitler was a genocidal monster, Chuck D is an entertainer. Learn to balance your analogies.


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