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(Above is the historic photo of the 1968, Sanitation workers protest in Memphis for better working conditions.)

The Men of the Tenth Inc. Teaching the truth to the youth.

July 2011

Kanye West is More Than a Rapper In 2004, the platinum-selling artist Kanye West stepped onto the scene as a rapper from Rocafella records. His debut album The College Dropout was an instant classic. Throughout the years Kanye’s music and artistic ability have changed America, specifically Black culture. However, there are many that suggest Kanye is “just a rapper.” Today, I want you to know that Kanye is more than a rapper; he is a social justice leader. Moreover, he is critical about the world we live in. Kanye uses his upbringing and formal education to make others aware of racial problems that African Americans encounter. He is also relentless at speaking out against inequality. The topics Kanye covers in his music are great indicators of how racial consciousness influences children.

More inside!

Life Lessons from Marcus Garvey You must never stop learning. The world’s greatest men and women were people who educated themselves outside of the university with all the knowledge that the university gives, as [and] you have the opportunity of doing the same


Moreover, the education he has received from his family has influenced him to write powerful lyrics. Kanye is unlike most rappers, his mother has a PhD in English and had taught at the university level until her tragedy death in 2007. Her influence has caused him to create powerful messages and enlighten others through songs. For example, in the song, Never Let Me Down, Kanye states: I get down for my grandfather who took my momma Made her sit that seat where white folks ain't wanna us to eat At the tender age of 6 she was arrested for the sit in With that in my blood I was born to be different If you are not aware of the civil rights movement then you can not understand the history lesson that Kanye has infused into the first and second line. Within these lines, Kanye reminds us about the historic struggle African-Americans had to overcome just to have a decent meal to eat in America. The next line asserts the results of trying to eat, while the last line suggests his family’s heritage has provided the platform for him to be unique.

Life Lessons (cont.) thing the university student doesread and study. Every six months you should read over again the science of the language that you speak, so as not to forget its rules. People judge you by your writing and your speech. If you write badly and incorrectly they become prejudiced toward your intelligence, and if you speak badly and incorrectly those who hear you become disgusted and will not pay much attention to you but in their hearts laugh after you. (Excerpts from “Marcus Life and Lessons,� 1987)

Artwork of the Month Born in Massachusetts then brought by his family to live in New Jersey at an early age, Frank Morrison was reared and spent his formative years there, an affable, precocious and inquisitive youngster whose curiosity about everything around him seemed limitless. Then, as an energetic pre-teen, he was interested and enthused by the youthful fads, interests and activities, which marked his world: he decided to place his art skills on a canvas and uses local characters to illustrate the daily highlights of urban life. 2


Therefore, if you have never experienced, urban life, racial profiling, or visited a black church, you would probably think Kanye is just good at putting together words. However, often times Kanye provides critiques in his music about the media, society, and people of influence. So, for those of you who think Kanye West is just a rapper. Just remember that his lyrics and actions as a rapper have made President Obama voice “he is a jackass” and President Bush claim Kanye’s opinion of him was one of the lowest moments of his life. Overall, Kanye’s work is not the work of a rapper, but a social justice leader.

Definition: Social Justice Leader A social justice leader improves conditions of people in low-income communities and addresses other basic needs of society at the local level. Social justice leaders help engage others in effort to reach levels of human awareness and relations. They speak the simple terms about basic dignity of every human being. (Excerpt from “Defining a Citizen Leader” in The Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages,” 1995)

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The Men of the Tenth Inc. The Men of the Tenth Inc., is a non-profit organization that believes in W.E.B. Dubois’ philosophy that the upliftment of a community will be saved by its exceptional men and women. The Men of the Tenth Inc. provides workshops and presentations to arm students with the skillset and tools to eliminate unwanted conflicts and challenges that may occur. Our goal is to reach young people and motivate them to do better. For presentations contact us at :

Website: www.themenofthetenth.org Email: Info@themenofthetenth.org Phone: (518) 657-9594

The Men of the Tenth Inc. 750 Faile Avenue Suite 2E Bronx, New York 10458


July 2011