Now We Know What the ‘D’ Stands For
On May 19th, 2013 Carlton Douglas Ridenhour ‘84, our frontman extraordinaire-Chuck D, accepted an honorary doctorate from Adelphi University.
Introduced by Adelphi’s President, Dr. Robert A. Scott, Chuck was recognized for being “an educator, an advocate for peace, a drug-free America, [and] college attendance and completion.”
Upon receiving his doctorate, Chuck was asked to say a few words to the AU graduates. He shared these powerful words:
“I have spoken at four hundred colleges and universities the past twenty-two years, on topics such as rap, race, and reality; not just bragging about my Strong Island experience, but encouraging the quest for education. Whatever notoriety that comes my way I choose to be like a prism, diverting the light of fame into young people tryin’ to learn this game / while makin’ a name / from not playin’. Hopefully this honorary degree does the same to encourage many (to all) that this day is not in vain. In a time when celebrity has become the virtual drug of America, you students, and especially graduates have everything that they have, but even more. They can never take this away from you. So this is a beautiful beginning.”
“You hear celebrities talk about swagger. Y’all got the real swagger. This is something to swagger with. Not manufactured, not concocted. This is a reason to walk up outta here, bold!”
It was during his time at Adelphi (1978-84), that Chuck immersed himself in the world of hip-hop. He famously steered a radio show at WBAU (We Broadcast from Adelphi University) where he wrote rhymes, promoted, and met the men who would become his band mates in Public Enemy. This great honor from his alma mater, coupled with his recent induction in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has made 2013 yet another historic year for Public Enemy.