The Rainbow Push Young Adult League began the 42nd Annual International Convention opened Saturday with a thought provoking panel discussion entitled, “I AM… ART”. The intent of the discussion was to explore the impact of Hip Hop on urban inner city youth and revolved around the question, “Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?”
Featuring five successful members of the urban music and media industries like international music superstars, Lupe Fiasco and Waka Flocka Flame; Marketing and Recording Executive at Roc Nation, Chaka Pilgrim; Digital Managing Editor at Jet Magazine and Founder of The Kyles Files, Kyra Kyles; and Chicago State University professor, Dr. Gerrard McClendon; the panel discussion was masterfully moderated by Dr. Chandra Gill.
The auditorium was near capacity as music fans of all backgrounds and ages filled the seats for the historic discussion followed by an intense Q&A session. Audience members expressed delight at the genuinely candid dialogue, the intelligent and thoughtful responses of each panelist, and the intergenerational appeal that the event had. The recurring theme of the conversation seemed to be the responsibility of artists and labels as it pertains to the content of their music and how it influences youth culture.
Artists are so powerful and can use their influence to bring attention to issues that youth may otherwise not be exposed to. While many audience members may have been secretly hoping for a surprise and spontaneous concert, they did not leave disappointed. “I felt like I was watching history being made,” an audience member said after the event. “I was happy to see Rev. Jesse Jackson and Waka Flocka on the same stage. It gave me hope.”
I was able to take part in this by asking questions from social media! Super fun and great to have learned that Waka Flocka is actually not like people believe. He is very self-educated it appears. So lesson to the “wise” don’t judge a book by a song or a cd cover.
Also later I was able to go on ABC news Chicago and speak about the event! Take a look at the video here.