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The Flames Need Fannin’

Originally published in Eleven Magazine

As far as hip-hop icons fare, few have shone brighter and burned hotter than the industrious and multi-faceted, Talib Kweli, who visits the St. Louis History Museum this month to deliver a lecture for the Remixing Education initiative, co-presented by the Rockwood and Parkway School Districts.

Though his first name translates to “student” or “seeker” in Arabic, Talib has moved well beyond that namesake by dedicating a few cities across the country to a lecture series focusing on the plight of black youth in modern society and what changes can be made through a combination of education and community engagement.

Not many rappers have this double identity; an MC who can move a concert crowd but also an intellectual crowd. A musician whose lyrical views align strongly with his political views.  His strong stance on social justice and involvement have made him a counterculture figure to black and white audiences alike, as he continues to speak, perform, record and now produce acts with his new independent label, Javotti Media

Much like his music, a scholarly mix of hip-hop influences, fusing beats with soul hooks, DJ samples, and socially-conscious lyrics, Talib will expound upon several different attitudes and examples of hip-hop culture as politic, offering a broader, more accessible teaching points for inner-city youth.

Organized and hosted by St. Louis resident poet MK Stallings, co-host of Literature for the Halibut on KDHX.org, the lecture will feature Kweli speaking to the pressures of being an artist and the compromises necessary to maintain artistic integrity, the illusion of politics, and the dire importance of motivated social activism to institute social change and educate African-American youth before they fall victim to their environments.

The lecture is free to the public but room is limited; reserve your seat by contacting the St. Louis Missouri History Museum and find out how you can help make a difference.

For more info: http://mohistory.org/node/9409

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