Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.


Hue Man at Harvard?

To swipe from Keith Murray, the most beautifullest thing in this world...is not loads of rain on a Monday. Definitely not.

This afternoon, I went to a cafe on Amsterdam to log a few hours of reading in. Yes, still on that same book. Same assignment. Yikes! Sounded like a good idea in my head, that was until I had to walk through a torrential downpour to get there. Note to self: natural twists and rain, not a good mix.

Fast forward a couple of hours and I'm in Harlem's Hue Man bookstore on Frederick Douglass, where they've invited Dr. Cornel West to speak about his role in Richard Bradley's controversial book, "Harvard Rules". He's very much on point. West tells the backstory of his departure from Harvard after the much beloved Harvard prez Larry Summers (do a search for ignant comments on women and intellect and he should come up) undercut his scholarship and role as a public intellectual. We all know that story. What I didn't know was that West, who went to Harvard as an undergraduate student, remains so torn over the experience that he refuses to wear his class ring. That momma gave him. That's deep.

As much as West had done for the elevation of black studies at the nation's most renowned institution of higher learning (and now does for Princeton), it makes you wonder how did we ever get to this? And who's to say it won't happen again to any black professor who won't "dance" so his university can increase their profit margin?

The subject matter was heavy -- race, class, education, the academy. Among the other details the night revealed was that West was once in a special ed class as a kid ("I had extra energy I had to channel" he said, wryly.) But, there were lighter spots where West showed us why he is currently still the most famous face of the Crimson.
On his interaction with Summers -- "I'm Christian,
but no pacifist. I'll slap a brotha upside the head very quick."

Can't deny the hilarious eloquence (or a forthcoming new rap CD! ... fodder for a future blog, my friends. LOL) West is West due to his lack of ambiguity. There's no asking what does this man think? Where is he coming from? He leaves everything on the table. And, with him, it's like Jay-Z says, "You can love me or hate me eitha or." I opt for the former.


At March 30, 2005 8:18 PM , Blogger Zantiferous3 said...

Soror!!! Love this post... *skee weeing as I read it*

Wow... I heard about this from friend who went that Monday.

Yet another reason to miss NY.

At April 03, 2005 1:04 AM , Blogger Hashim said...

I was there. And so was Nichelle. Small city.

At April 05, 2005 5:30 PM , Blogger Harold M. Clemens said...

I'm a Cornel fan too. He makes scholarship relevant and personable. I disagree with the establishment's notion that scholarship only has space in theory and isolation. It's Harvard's loss.


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