Lupe Fiasco took a moment to address the ills of society during a recent commencement ceremony in his hometown of Chicago. This time his darts were aimed directly at Chicago’s public school system – an institution, like many other public school systems in the U.S., besmirched by mediocre graduation rates and arguably questionable pedagogy. Lupe Fiasco took the podium at Chicago State University on Saturday during the Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood Ceremony – a community celebration of achievement for young black men graduating high school in the Chicago metro area – to offer biting criticism of a system that has seen fit to release students into the world without what he considers the proper knowledge and preparation for survival or success. He began his address with sharp words for the graduates:
“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.”
A graduate of the same system, Lupe Fiasco urged the young men to focus on planning for and solidifying their futures instead of getting caught up in the pomp and circumstance of graduation. While the achievement is obviously one to be celebrated for young men of color who inhabit a world where a percentage of their peers will fail to make it far enough to mark the occasion, Lupe Fiasco’s sour grapes approach was not lost on the crowd as they reportedly responded to his tough love with applause. His words were commended as fervently as his earnest commitment to pledge $100 to each of the graduates in attendance. While this is Lupe Fiasco’s latest stand, it isn’t likely to be his last. He has dedicated his public platform to social activism and critique; Lupe Fiasco’s trajectory and actions continue to support the suggestion that it’s much bigger than hip-hop.
Spotted at CST