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Chicago Public Schools: Rapper Lupe Fiasco Gives HS Grads Dose of Reality

When you invite irreverent and outspoken rapper Lupe Fiasco to be your school’s commencement speaker, you never know what you’re going to get. After all, this was the man who called President Obama “the biggest terrorist” in 2011 and who was kicked off-stage in January at an inauguration-related event after leveling another anti-Obama attack.

 When he stood in front of 150 graduates at an event called the Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood ceremony, Fiasco didn’t hold back in his message to the Chicago high school grads.

“Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world. You have just spent the last . . . 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth. You are at least four, five steps behind people in other countries that are younger than you,” Fiasco said according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fiasco is himself a graduate of the Chicago public schools, where statistics indicate only about 63 percent of black teens graduate—it was closer to 44 percent when Fiasco was in the system—and where the school board recently voted to close 49 schools to help close a $1 billion shortfall.

After his dose of reality, Fiasco tried to give the group some inspiration.

“Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now,” he said. “The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. That’s just dress. That’s just some clothes. Meaningless clothes, too, because they have no real purpose in life. They don’t keep you warm. What do they do? They just represent to someone else that you’ve achieved something. But then when you look back at it, what have you achieved?”

Sharon Hunley, who was there to see her 17-year-old son in his cap and gown, said Fiasco’s speech was “candid.”

“They needed to hear that,” she said.

What people are saying

2 thoughts on “Chicago Public Schools: Rapper Lupe Fiasco Gives HS Grads Dose of Reality

  1. DebRa Black says:

    I don't think rappers have a place speaking at high school graduations, especially if they're not giving the graduate a balanced view of life ahead. Our black men need a good dose of healthy advise. I thought the article was going to say how much money he gave to students with promising careers as doctors, educators, etc. Why don't he fund building a private school for the youths or a youth center. rapper lupey fiasco SHUT UP!

  2. So he told a bunch of students their school is failing, because none of them could see any of the realities of the school they just attended for 4 years) and he questioned what they achieved by graduating when we are begging for our young people to stay in school and graduate. I get he may have been trying to convey that there is so much more ahead of them, I am just hoping he said that to them. I know this article is just a summary of his message, I hope there is more to his message than what the article picked out.

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