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BCC Launches Black History Month With Professor Griff Of Public Enemy

February 26, 2013 by admin

By Joe Malanaphy

Black History Month kicked off at BCC on Thursday Jan. 31, with a special guest lecture in the SLC by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Professor Griff of Public Enemy.
       Griff greeted the audience and had everyone stand up and introduce themselves to a stranger before beginning his lecture about the struggles and hardships as a black person in early America. Griff also spoke about leaders of the black community who have transcended color barriers, such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson. Griff
even gave a nod to hiphop legends such as Tupac Shakur, Notorious BIG, and his own group Public Enemy.
     “Each one, teach three. That’s an axiom we have coming out of Africa,” said Griff.
     “If you can just open your heart and mind, and take away one thing to share with three other people, I’d really appreciate that,” he said. 
  Griff talked about the early days of Public Enemy, which was recently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
     “We were doing community work, and that’s something that recording artists on Def Jam at the time weren’t used to doing,” Griff said.
          He went on to talk about the tremendous struggles and adversity that black people have overcome from the early days of America up until the present day.
     Griff passed around an artifact called a manilla, which was once used to purchase black men, women, and children for slavery.
     “This could purchase an entire black family,” he said.
     Griff continued his lecture talking about black leaders, such as Malcolm X, who have shaped black culture today and paved the way for other black men and women to succeed in America.
     “The deeper essence of what Malcolm X gave us, a lot of us still have not experienced,” Griff said.
        After the lecture, Griff sat down for a Q&A with The Stall:
SN-Do you ever see a world without racism, or will humans always find something to hate about eachother?
PG- In my personal life when I envisioned the future, of course if I didn’t have that view through the particular lense of ‘Yes I do see a time where we could actually live in harmony,’  we’ve seen some animal species who have figured it out, we can see it on that level, so as humans I’m sure we can figure it out. Humans have figured out a lot of things.
SN- Do you believe that mainstream media contributes to race issues, and dividing people with their own particular agendas?
PG- I think so, but yet it’s been balanced out now being that the internet is so vast and available to everyone to the point where now we can go and do some research on our own.
     Before, it was just left up to those who could get to the library and had access to the library. Those that could do research, those that were writing the books, those that had the money to put movies together and influence minds. Now, there’s writers, there’s videographers, there’s people putting films together on small budgets that are actually giving them a run for their money and now that particular question is balancing itself out. They contributed to exacerbating the tensions between black and white, but I think about the times we sat down and had conversations and dialogue, and we could see the common ground.
     When we did the thing with Anthrax, we found that there is so much more that we had in common, which would break down the differences, and that’s just through music.
SN- How exciting is the Hall of Fame induction, and what does that mean to you?
PG- It’s really exciting. People will say, does it come with a check? I’m like nah man, its about the mere fact that my accomplishment of coming from the hood,, studying and knowing things, and speaking truth to power and having people recognize that like, my overall goal was to raise the consciousness level of the human family, and by them saying ‘We’re inducting you in,’ I said wow, I kinda did it. The consciousness has been raised.
SN- Does Public Enemy have any plans for making any new music?
PG- Oh yea, of course. Shortly after the Hall of Fame thing we’re getting right to work on the next project. We don’t have a working title yet, but there’s some songs we got in the can
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