Hip-hop is not like rap music. It is not an arena for the vulgarity of the everyday. It’s for the people who understand their lives and those who understand the people themselves. And there are a lot of people in this room who are people of the people. (Applause.)
If you want young people to take up rap, you have to give them the right culture. If that’s not present, they can’t make hip-hop. And what’s important is: we’re going to bring to this room a young generation where there are not enough leaders who have the vision to move this country forward. (Applause.)
Let me talk about a few young people in our community, like the ones at a local business, who are trying to help make this a real community. It wasn’t really their vision of what a hip-hop community should be, but they wanted to help, and you all are helping by listening to us and saying, “Yeah, we need to do it.” Thank you.
There are young black men in this room who are just learning to get their lives together. They are learning to deal with the things that they’ve overcome, and they’re also learning to deal with the things that they’ve not overcome. They’re in the thick of it. (Applause.) These are the kids who know that they are different from the people around them. (Applause.) I love how they’re doing it. (Laughter.)
A young kid named Rashad is from my community. Like many young people in my community, in a city where we’ve got a lot of problems, he’s got a lot of problems.
Rashad didn’t get a great education. My dad made sure that he had a good education, but his dad was not like the rest of the people around my family — not the other fathers around the family, including those who looked like us. Most of the people around my family had some kind of college education. But Rashad just couldn’t take his own life into his own hands.
He was always watching the television, and he was always looking out of the window of his front porch, and he kept looking. And every night, he watched news reports about violence in the street.
There were so many people getting killed in Detroit.
He would be watching television and thinking about, “Am I the only one who’s worried about all this?”
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