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The Funky Truth Is Coming

 “Let the word go forth here and now that the struggle for freedom is still alive…..And the story of that struggle is still being told…….” Cornel West/ Sketches of my culture

The funky truth is coming: the funky truth is coming to Denver, Colorado, Auraria Campus on April 12th, 2012. The shaggy Afro Professor Dr. Cornel Ronald West is speaking as part of the Art of Social Justice Conference before steps into his new position as Religious Philosophy and Christian Practice Instructor. Being an author, critic, American philosopher, civil rights activist and orator, He is all over the country each year sharing his knowledge. West in his trademark attire a black suit, white shirt and tie is the Hip Hop Professor and voice of the New Jack Generation. His passion is being a voice for the masses of those who have no voice and creditability to break it all down on what is going on in the U.S. of A. He’s a walking encyclopedia of historical facts. You wouldn’t believe he use to bully students as a kid and hijack them for their milk money. Leaving messages on Facebook, at his dot com or twitter may prove to be worth it. Googling his name springs up a wealth of information in a technological era. Students around the country and world recognize this iconic “21st Century figure.” He is very approachable and connected to people.

You may have seen him after he gave Harvard University the boot. In the Matrix Reload and the Matrix Revolutions movies where he serves on the Council of Zion for the human race against the machine, Councilor West was just out of this world. As a member of the same fraternity as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he proudly represents the Alpha Phi Alpha world-wide. His take on educating the communities of young minds is beyond the social fabric of the politically correct.

One day on my radio show ‘Rap Radio JAM’ on Denver’s KLDC station, as I played his music CD the lines got busy with callers asking, “ who was that and where can I find that CD?” Even the station manager was fiendish for the music and I couldn’t wait to express this to West one day. It had me cracking up how conservatives open their eyes to some deep truths just as the youth have discovered he speaks our language. Take a listen to another piece of his music blasting out of a booming automobile or on radio dial:

“Without self-respect you’ll certainly self-destruct. Be true to ya’ history therein lays your possibility Harriett Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X. The past is prologue to ya’ future…”

“We all been through struggles ups and downs. We got quiet despair and active hope, but the tradition kicked in and the love made a difference and the caravan of struggle that made us who we are serve as a spring board for where we are right now….”

——– Excerpts of Dr. Cornel West’s CD

During his youth, West spoke truth to power to Governor Ronald Reagan, who got an ear full while West’s brother was receiving a sports recognition. His brother Cliff says, “Since Corn was a child at five years old, he has been fearless as he crossed a bridge others would not dare attempt to.”

The majority of his work focuses on the role of race, gender and class in America Society and the means in which people act and react to their “radical conditioned-ness.” His contributions come from such sources as the African American Baptist Church, pragmatism (a practical approach to problems and affairs) and transcendentalism (a philosophy holding that ultimate reality is unknowable or asserting the primacy of the spiritual over the material and empirical).

He knows why some people are afraid of the truth he has to say. Mindful of this, the kids are feeling his funky vibes and rappers are on a first name bases with the doctor. Can you name the rap singers that sling off the name of Cornel West? Sure, you could, but it all goes back to the time of his mentoring larger than life KRS-1 and others in the global cyber of Hip Hop Music before it was even made public to the masses. Even West’s CD bangs out his educated vibes in a Last Poets’ style:

“Then comes Hip-Hop the greatest creative breakthrough in the last twenty five years of the younger generation fusing linguistics, virtuosity with rhythmic velocity something unprecedented as well as the other earlier developments in the history of not just black music; 20th century music; modern music. All connected to struggle for freedom. The music soothes our bruises, it caresses our bruises, it attempts to give us a fore taste of the freedom we so deeply want even if we can experience it for a moment, for a moment.”……..

In 1994, while I was being called to the U.S. Congressional floor in Washington, D.C. to testify about the effects of gangster rap music on our youth, I learned that earlier Brother West took a particular interest in the issue. James Spady, our family publicist, had kept driving the point home to me of who this radical professor was. My brother, Dr. H. Malcolm Newton, used to insist that I travel with him often to meet brother Dr. Cornel West. My brother and West are best friends.. As usual, I showed no interest due to my traveling schedule and book tours. In 1998, my brother was involved in bringing his close friend Dr. West to the University of Denver for the first time. Upon finally meeting and posing for pictures, I continued to study this college professor up close as he spoke to the crowd, remembering his huge embrace of a hug. We became family immediately.

We both have a gap-tooth at the center of our smile. He answered my question from the audience about America’s Gangsterism. As he spoke like a Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, John Brown, Dr. Tony Evans and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his voice reached into me in the inner most parts of my spirit that was screaming strongly back at American Society like dynamite exploding. He could relate to me and my feeling. He continued to embrace my Tulsa born son Ryan and was so playful with him before and after dinner. Dinner was on him tonight, being paid in full as he spoke with his hands as a great Orator. We carried on small talk as I engaged him with more political dialogue about what I observed in Washington, D.C., as a so called celebrity rap musician and youth advocate. Dr. West spoke swiftly and clarified his thoughts with laser conciseness. Finally, I had met a man that spoke for all people. He wasn’t too far out to the left or right. I told him “he was the Bus Driver because he was taking everybody to school.” We bonded forever. I was given permission to use any of his materials.

Anyway, if you can tell by now this is really a cool professor who is in touch with what is going on in the streets of America, in the prisons with prisoners and up to the minute in the latest media and entertainment circles. He continues to pick up the pace in the community colleges he visits. He knows all the latest slang as seen on YouTube.

He does recognize that his comment and views on September 11 have impacted society. He continues to hear that it has. Well, what was his statement? Dr. West said that:

“ The September 11, 2001 attacks gave white Americans a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the United States—feeling unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hatred for who they are.” “The ugly terrorist attacks on innocent civilians on 9/11,” he said, “plunged the whole country into the blues.”

He remembers the race riots of Black Wall Street in Oklahoma which is now Gap Band Blvd in Tulsa. West is also concerned about the lack of love and respect he sees between people, particularly where race is concerned. These were his concerns about Black America after his highly controversial interview with Playboy Magazine about his reconsideration of President Obama. He took calls from the Princeton’s Studio fed into NPR’s DC on air program with Tony Cox. This is what he started his talk with on the radio show  as the line lit up like Christmas trees:

“Love and trust and justice, concern for the poor, that’s being pushed to the margins, and you can see it,” West tells NPR’s Tony Cox on ‘TALK TO THE NATION’.

He loves President Obama and has supported him in his election to office, but is aware that even the president is not exempt from being held accountable to the people for his cowardice actions toward the people of society. In late October 2011, brother West participated in “Occupy D.C.” protests on the steps of the Supreme Court and was arrested. He was arrested again in New York on Oct 21st, 2011, for protesting New York Police Department’s policy of stopping and frisking.

Once I learned that finally I’d get to see and hear the man himself again after seeing that he is continuing to make waves and blaze a path in our murky society, I put in another call to him. Dr. West’s secretary returned my call, and the next day I got a call from the man himself. “Happy New Year, this is brother West, Cornel West calling brother Mike Devine. Hope all is well. Say a prayer for the late Dr. Gary Davis. Give my regards to brother Malcolm. I’m just checking in on the run (between the East and West Coast). I am sorry to miss you. Stay strong! We shall connect one way or another down the line. Take good care” —–end of phone message. That was a down to earth call.

Come and hear this gap toothed professor with his own trademark brand of telling the truth. You’ll never be the same again once you’ve heard the funky truth by a voice of the New Jack Generation. We need more out-spoken and engaging Professors like this in all subjects on college campuses throughout America that truly has something to say to rock to life our active minds.

Brother Dr. West has many roles at age 57. He’s one of America’s most dynamic and provocative public intellectuals. Blue pill or red pill? Which one will it be? He’s a brother living and loving out loud.

– Miami Mike Devine Pennington


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  1. President of PC,Inc
    March 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    tight work,

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