Lupe Fiasco gives Chicago grads stern speech about their ‘terrible school systems’

Lupe Fiasco - Grad Speech Cover

Lupe Fiasco has become one of music’s most polarizing figures in recent years thanks to his critiques of everything from the word “b—-,” to inner city violence, to President Barack Obama. Whether being righteous or insulting, Lupe’s intentions have always been about bettering the common man. Lupe’s harsh style of tough love was in full effect when he recently spoke to a group of Chicago high school boys about graduating from the Windy City’s “terrible, sub-standard school systems.”

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the native Chicago rapper was the keynote speaker at what the Black Star Project,’ the group who organized the ceremony at Chicago State University, labeled a ‘Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood ceremony. Lupe gave 150 black male grads a stern reality check about the hard road ahead of them.

“Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, sub-standard school systems in the entire world,” said Lupe. “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.”

In recent years, Chicago has been a hotbed for controversy as the city has seen an alarming spike in murders, especially among the youth, several school closings and other blights affecting its young generation. With such a harsh environment, Lupe advised them to focus their attention inward to become great men.

“Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now. The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. That’s just some clothes. Meaningless clothes, too, because they have no real purpose in life. 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?”

The rapper, who pledged $100 to each of the graduates, added that the young men must earn and maintain their manhood, “for young black men . . . it is one the last things that we have . . . and one of the last things that we can control. Manhood is connected to humanity,” he added.

In the face of such dire situations in the city they call home, all of those young men will no doubt need to cultivate a strong sense of humanity and empathy in order to better their lives and their community.

nicholas robinson

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