One of the rap world's foremost names will be in Chicago Thursday for a unique event addressing how today's political climate has impacted politically-engaged hip-hop.
Chuck D, of Public Enemy fame, is among the participants in the sixth-annual "Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop," a town hall-style panel event moderated by journalist and activist Bikari Kitwana and presented by Columbia College Chicago's Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media.
Chuck D has long been outspoken in his call for hip-hop to make an impact beyond a catchy verse and Public Enemy was a groundbreaking act. When addressing the crowd during a recent Public Enemy show in Toronto, Chuck D urged fellow artists to "say something in your lyrics. Sure, you can make it entertaining, and it should be entertaining. But you have to be saying something."
Journalist Laura Washington, hip-hop artist Jasiri X, the League of Young Voters executive director Rob "Biko" Baker and community organizer and journalist Rosa Clemente round out the event's panel, which will be followed by breakout sessions led by local activists "addressing solutions to violence in Chicago and the teachers strike," according to the event's Twitter page.
"Rap Sessions" is a free event and will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash, 1st Floor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.