Dr. Reiland Rabaka gave a fiery speech relating W.E.B. DuBois to the Harlem Renaissance to Ella Baker to the Black Panthers to the hip hop generation in the UMC on Feb. 8.
Holding a doctorate in African American Studies from Temple University, Rabaka is a professor in the ethnic studies department. Rabaka’s speech, titled “The Talented Tenth at the Twilight of the 21st Century,” was part of a series of events celebrating Black Awareness Month at CU. His speech was aimed to put into perspective how black history has led to, and influenced, the hip hop generation.
Rabaka emphasized how important education is to black history. Every activist group and rights movement had well-educated leaders at its core. For example, W.E.B. DuBois, who argued that blacks should have access to higher education, was the first black man to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University, according to Rabaka. Ella Baker, who was involved in both civil and women’s rights movements, graduated from Shaw University. And Tupac Shakur’s mother was a member of the Black Panthers, who got their start at Merritt College.
He encouraged the importance of education to the hip hop generation.
“(The goal of education is) to challenge yourself and take whatever you learn at the university and share it with everyone you can,” Rabaka said.
In his speech he said the hip hop generation must be able to distinguish between politics and “politricks,” have an understanding of history as well as “her story” and make sure hip hop is not “hip pop.”
As Rabaka spoke about desegregation in the U.S., he related it back to CU.
Approximately 30,000 students attend CU and there are only 9,500 students here with African descent, Rabaka said.
“I really question how liberal a place like this is,” he said. “It is morally repugnant the number of African-Americans and Chicanos at CU.”
“I think (the speech) is extremely interesting,” said Geno Geyser, an audience member. “I really liked his remark that people need to get active.”
Mike Maat, a hip hopper and Boulder resident, said he really liked how Rabaka connected all the generations in his speech.
For a complete list of events for Black Awareness Month at CU, download the events calendar here.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Gary Black at email@example.com.