Chuck D to speak on race at UNA

by Associate Life Editor Hannah Zimmer

University Residences will bring Hip-Hop artist Chuck D to UNA to discuss controversial topics during “Rap, Race, and Reality” at Norton Auditorium Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

Chuck D, founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Public Enemy and member of the Prophets of Rage, will discuss his thoughts on the title subjects.

“Rap, Race, and Reality” is an interactive presentation based on current events, said Kevin Jacques, director of university residences.

“Chuck D takes what’s going on now in this country and incorporates it into those three different topics,” Jacques said.

Chuck D has presented the event at other schools in the past, including recently at Iowa State University. At the events, Chuck D commented on practices in Hollywood, the music industry and the murders of big names, such as Tupac.

Jacques saw a Chuck D presentation sixteen years ago, and he said he has wanted to bring the program to UNA ever since then.

“Out of all the speakers I’ve heard over my life, he is probably one of three people that I can still remember their presentation,” Jacques said.

He also discussed education, economics and law enforcement in America at prior events. However, the talks are different for each location.

The event is free to UNA students, and there is no general admission charge for the public.

Jacques said faculty can reserve a block of seats for their students.

In addition to speaking for “Rap, Race, and Reality” events, Chuck D is also an advocate and representative for Rock The Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance for African American Athletes.

“He has presented all over the world and has been met with great response,” Jacques said. “We’re honored to have him here at UNA.”

Freshman Sean Gillman said he thinks discussing racism is a good idea, but he is skeptical about Chuck D.

“Public enemy was pretty anti-establishment back in the day, and I don’t feel that creating distrust will help anything,” Gillman said.

Jacques said “Rap, Race, and Reality” are timely topics with all of the different issues, like political wars and perceived injustices, in the country.

The coverage of these topics will create a needed discussion within the community, said freshman Bri Long.

“There have always been racial issues in our country,” she said. “People never want to see or notice them, so I feel that people need a wake-up call.”

Jacques said he hopes to begin some dialogue on controversial topics which will continue throughout the year.

“(I hope) to just get a better understanding of how we as a university and community can treat each other better,” Jacques said.

Senior Drake Vaccaro said this event will be beneficial for students.

“The event will help students have conversations that may not be easy to have,” he said. “I think that having Chuck D come to campus will be great for students and that he can give an outlook that others may not have thought of.”