Students present African-American music to ‘RAP-UP’ MLK Jr. month


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The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Emily Craig, Assistant News Editor

The RAP-UP event, sponsored by the English Department and Gender Studies, was an interactive presentation on black music. This event served as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. 2017 program promoted by the Multicultural Center.

At this event, several students and some faculty joined a dialogue held by students about the cultural and personal significance of old-school and contemporary Hip-Hop. Students involved, such as seniors Donald Stokes and Jada Burke, presented a song to the audience and held discussion afterwards that pertained to the song.

The event, held in Dana 1D on Feb. 27,  promoted performances by Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Tupac, Ludacris, and Mary J. Blige.

Stokes led a discussion on J. Cole’s “Love Yourz” and was followed by Burke’s presentation of 2pac’s “Dear Mama.” These performances by J. Cole and 2pac touched on popular themes among rap music, such as family, motherhood, and identity.

These dialogues allowed students in attendance to educate themselves on the message behind the lyrics of each song. To hear and address the actual meaning of the lyrics gives listeners the opportunity to understand the situations these songs want to voice in order for the community to acknowledge and discuss them. Student leaders of the event’s dialogue agreed with this sentiment and said it was more productive than admiring the song for having a good beat. The final performance showcased was by Kendrick Lamar, who received a Grammy Award for his 2016 rap album “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

His song, “Alright,” focuses on uplifting the black community, as pointed out in the student dialogue. Students agreed that this topic is pivotal, especially in the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the program being held in his honor at Saint Anselm.