July 29, 2011

My Review: Cornel West & Lupe Fiasco at the Youth Leadership Institute

Let me say that I LOVE an in depth conversation. In regards to that, I feel compelled to respond to the recorded stream I watched on The LupE.ND. Blog. It  featured a very in depth and intriguing Q&A between Lupe Fiasco, Dr. Cornel West and the audience at the Youth Leadership Institute in Los Angeles put together in part by Tavis Smiley. Among many other purposes of the discussion, critical thinking was at the core.Critical thinking it was. One thing I appreciated most was the views brought forth where not imposed on anyone. In other words no one was forced to think in accordance with the next person. Instead the intent was to give and honest and logical analysis of any subject at hand. In essence, the entire session was carried out in a respectable manner & tone. Concerning the subject matter, the significance for me was that everything hashed up was content everyone could grasp and have input. No topic was placed of particular importance above the other. All were of high pertinence and very relevant when it came down to it.

Lupe was primarily at the receiving end of the questions. He was asked things such as where he drew his musical inspiration and where that initiated. He was asked about about his thoughts towards the particular degradation of women in hip hop and how many less than respectful terms are thrown around in relation to them. The statement that Lupe made about Obama was brought up in the midst as well. To that I have to say, that ya boy very sensibly, articulately and logically gave an explanation that is almost impossible to debate but, you'd have to be on your super game to give a reply. In one instance (switching subjects), a young lady questioned Lupe as to if he'd ever been asked to compromise his artistic integrity and digress from his message of positivity for the sake of more notoriety. Within that she also mentioned  those who seem to focus on issues regarding the masses and "intellectually gifted" artists, which specifically peaked his interest in her question. A bit later he asked "...what about Rick Ross?", implying is he not apart of that? He went on to explain that he doesn't place artists into that box of who's on this level. Who's vocabulary, way of conceptualizing and communicating is less or more than the next person. It's more so about what your saying.

Probably the most appealing aspect to me, and what I came to respect most, was the humility shown in the room. The gestures by Dr. Cornel West along with the inflection in his voice kept you engaged. The audience/students were noticeably amped but, remained considerate. The fashion and tone by which Fiasco answered the questions didn't put down anyone nor did he make himself seem higher than the rest. He simply caught what was thrown his way. However, when "Food & Liquor 2" came into play towards the very end, he reminded us in a sly voice that he's going back to the basis as to why he is dubbed
"the nicest M.C.", 
and I couldn't agree more.

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