KRS-One lecture ends with impromptu performance

Khanlin Rodgers – The State Hornet
KRS-One held a lecture to discuss race, African-American history, colonialism and the public school system.

Hip-hop artist KRS-One held a lecture in the Redwood Room of The University Union on Feb. 8, discussing his thoughts on race, colonialism and the public education system.

“According to European history, black history never existed,” KRS-One began.

Confused expressions from the audience were met with further explanation from the lecturer.

“We have yet to study real black history,” he said. “I hope you don’t think Fredrick Douglass and Nat Turner are it. True black history can’t be taught in the U.S.”

KRS-One went on to explain that black history predates American history, and that presentations of black history in U.S. schools often begin with slavery.

“The idea of having a black history to define ourselves is inaccurate,” he said. “There is no linear history. That’s an illusion.”

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KRS-One said that people can learn about their past a lot more easily now than the past due to technology, which can be advantageous for youth seeking to discover their roots.

He discussed that he believes classes often focus on individual historical figures rather than the larger story of how social and other forces interact to produce sets of circumstances.

The example KRS-One used was the underground railroad. Harriet Tubman would have saved more slaves if they better realized how much they were the victims of systemic oppression.

Following the lecture, Sac State student DeWayne Lamont — who said that KRS-One was a heavy influence on his work as a rapper (he goes by the name Consci8us) — asked KRS-One a question about the modern state of hip-hop.

The two held an impromptu freestyle session in the Redwood Room as a crowd surrounded them.

“I just wanted to ask him a few questions. I wasn’t expecting all of this,” said Ewing. “I just released my last project, ‘When Purpose Meets Destiny’ in December, so I guess things like this are just going to keep happening.”

Another topic KRS-One discussed was relations between the sexes, saying that the differences between genders are important and that women should be esteemed more highly than men.

“Women tend to want to get in competition with men, but they weren’t made that way,” he said. “The reason to be a man was to protect the queen. If we fail to realize that we are colonial.”

Cara Lamumba, who attended the event, agreed with him.

“He’s absolutely right because when I was growing up my mother said that women are the ones who are going to keep the family together,” she said. “After my mother passed away it was my father and both of my brothers and I, and the only way we would get together is when I made the phone calls. So he’s right that women keep the family together, though there’s a lot of men who step up also.”

The last message that KRS-One gave his audience was that racism shouldn’t exist. We have to know about history to understand other cultures, he said.

“Everyone here is an illegal alien. All that talk of people coming from Mexico? That’s for idiots. None of this land is ours.”