By Maurice Bobb
Over the course of the last few years, Chicago’s come under more and more scrutiny for its alarming murder rates, school closings and other blights on its inner city youth, so when Lupe Fiasco addressed young men who had recently graduated from area high schools this past Saturday (June 29), he took that as an opportunity to speak his mind on the frustration of the Windy City’s “terrible, substandard school systems.”
“Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world,” Lupe said at the special ceremony to honor the teens’ achievement. “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 that are younger than you.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Food & Liquor MC served as the keynote speaker to what organizers called the “Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood” event.
“Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now,” he continued. “The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. That’s just dress. That’s just some clothes. Meaningless clothes, too, because they have no real purpose in life. They don’t keep you warm. 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?”
As local doctors, lawyers, businessmen and politicians looked on, the 150 graduates in attendance were transfixed by the socio-political rapper, who told them he was also a product of the CISD and that they all had to 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 said.