Lupe Fiasco was the keynote speaker at an event sponsored by the Mass Black Male Graduation and Transtion to Manhood organizers, which included 150 black male recent graduates — a few of the 39 percent of black teens in Chicago public schools who manage to do so.
He delivered a wake-up call to the students, who were there to accept awards, discussing how far behind the curve they are. His speech, some of which is below, was "peppered with cheering and applause" according to the Chicago Sun Times.
“Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world. You have just spent the last . . . 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth. You are at least four, five steps behind people in other countries that are younger than you,” Fiasco said according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
A Chicago native himself, and a product of the public school system there, Fiasco’s remarks were well received. He parted with some personal thoughts on the issue of manhood.
“Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now. The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. That’s just dress. That’s just some clothes. Meaningless clothes, too, because they have no real purpose in life. They don’t keep you warm. What do they do? They just represent to someone else that you’ve achieved something. But then when you look back at it, what have you achieved?”