Rapper Lupe Fiasco made a bold statement while speaking at a high school graduation in Chicago recently.
Lupe was the keynote speaker for Chicago’s Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood ceremony. This event is designed to honor young men who have graduated from high schools across the city. In the speech Lupe told the young men “You have just spent the last 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth.”
Chicago has been in the news a lot recently because of public school related issues. In May of this year the city announced plans to close over 50 schools due to budget cutbacks, while planning to use $100 million in public funds to pay for a new arena at the privately owned Depaul university.
During the speech Lupe took aim at the city’s 39% black male graduation rate and condescendingly congratulated the young men for making it out of America’s worst school systems. As the young men looked on Lupe said “congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world. You are at least four, five steps behind people in other countries that are younger than you.”
Lupe continued his speech by giving encouragement to the young men and telling them to focus on the purpose of their lives and not to be content with what they have accomplished so far.
“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 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?”
At the end of the ceremony Lupe pledged $100 to each of the 150 young men and encouraged them to stay away from the violence that has killed so many young men in the city of Chicago.