Chuck D Honored With Paul Robeson “Here I Stand” Award
The Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute
Lincoln Theatre – Washington D.C.
On Saturday, September 7, 2013, Public Enemy MC, Chuck D, stood on stage at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington D.C., and graciously accepted the Paul Robeson – “Here I Stand” Award. Beside him, was his friend and confidante, S1W- James Bomb.
After a program of diverse and beautiful dancing, singing, and performance, the duo held the elegant award as they addressed the crowd.
Earlier in the evening, the audience was amazed by the logic-defying moves of season six winner of “So You Think You Can Dance?” – Russell Ferguson. As a stripped-down version of Bring the Noise emanated from the speakers, Ferguson drew applause, and encouraging outbursts from the enthusiastic crowd.
As the host of the evening, Hadi Muhammad, an accomplished member of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute, gleefully introduced The Black Notes, the Hung Tao Choy Mei “Lucky Lions”, the Dragon Princess – Ms. Olivia Zhang, Wrhatnala USA, and D.C. MC Head Roc. The night was packed with tributes in many forms.
Perhaps the most poignant exchanges occurred during the formal, center-stage interview. Mr. Abdur-Rahim Muhammad, President of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute, posed thoughtful, open-ended questions to Mr. Chuck, as a rapt audience leaned in to follow along.
During the profound discussion, Chuck tackled issues such as the social responsibility of hip-hop artists, the impact, reputation, and controversies surrounding Public Enemy, and the status of prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
During one segment, the two interview participants were interrupted, and handed a cellphone. It was Abu-Jamal calling in to congratulate Chuck, and to support his future endeavors. The surprise was a special exclamation point for the first half of the program. Mumia signed off by telling The Hard Rhymer, “Keep wakin’ ‘em up, shakin’ ‘em up, and bring the noise! Bring the funk! In that funk, freedom lies!”
As expected, Chucky D had some words of wisdom of his own. When asked about the location of the best MCs in the world, he confidently asserted that those from Africa are the best. “I know cats who can spit in four different languages, and can braid them like hair”.
It was a celebratory evening, and Chuck chose to remind everyone that these individual awards are always shared achievements. He used his time to talk about the Arts and culture, that it’s up to us to be “Earthizens”, to be citizens of planet Earth. Go out and get a passport. Travel. See the world.
Audience members left the theatre emboldened, empowered, and inspired.