By Mathew Pratt
Hip-Hop artist, Talib Kweli is the final guest speaker of the semester for the Diversity Lecture Series hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Grand Rapids Community College. “Vibrate Higher: An evening with Talib Kweli” will take place virtually starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6.
“ODEI has never shied away from inviting speakers whose influence ranges from academics at the pinnacle of their scholarship to grassroot activists making an impact in their part of the world,” stated B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s Chief Equity and Inclusion officer, in a news release.
Talib Kweli, a New York native, has been in the music industry for nearly 20 years and has accomplished a lot in his lifetime as a Hip-Hop artist. He has worked with Mos Def (Yassin Bey) as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal and released his own solo material.
From collaborating with Kanye West, Pharell Williams, and Just Blaze, Kweli stands as one of the most talented and accomplished artists out there with his lyricism, stories, and his ability to rhyme over virtually any instrumental beat.
In 2021, Kweli released a memoir, “Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story.” A reviewer for the Washington Post wrote, “the push-pull between commercial hip-hop, with its frequent emphasis on empty materialism, and Kweli’s message driven, popular conscious rap is one of the main topics at the heart of (the book).”
The book will be discussed and moderated by Bakari Kitwana, author, journalist, and executive director of Rap Sessions, which has hosted over 100 town hall meetings around the nation on difficult dialogues facing the hip-hop and millennial generations.
“Talib’s family’s roots, love of Hip-Hop, socio-political awareness, immeasurable talent, and infectious work ethic have positioned him as an iconoclast of popular culture. How he got there will unfold as part of the moderated discussion,” McNeely Cobham stated.
A live DJ set featuring Monk Matthaeus of GR Hip Hop.org will begin at 5:30 p.m.
The link to RSVP for “Vibrate Higher: An evening with Talib Kweli” can be found here.