TACOMA, Wash. – Hip-hop artist and community activist Jasiri X, who uses his music to speak out on issues ranging from Trayvon Martin’s death to Tea Party politics, will speak at the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at University of Puget Sound.
Everyone is welcome to the free event honoring the life and passions of Martin Luther King Jr., America’s Nobel Prize-winning 1960s civil rights leader. Jasiri X’s keynote talk, plus messages from the community and live music will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, at 7 p.m., in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets are required.
Following a year in which injustice and racism have headlined the news, reviving impassioned discussions around the dinner table and anxiety on Capitol Hill, the organizers expect an inspirational evening of talk and music.
Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas will open the evening and Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Michael Benitez will introduce Jasiri X. Attendees also will hear from the campus Black Student Union, student government, and Chaplain Dave Wright from the Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement.
Students in the School of Music will provide music and Chantel Dozier ’16 will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” In addition the annual Keep Living the Dream Award will be presented to a Puget Sound student who has shown commitment to work important to Rev. King, such as diversity and inclusion, justice, peace, and connecting spirituality and civic engagement.
Jasiri X first burst on the international hip-hop scene with the powerful hit song “Free the Jena 6,” which galvanized support for six black teenagers incarcerated in 2006, in Jena, La. The song was played on more than 100 radio stations and was named Hip Hop Political Song of the Year at the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards. From the controversial viral YouTube video What if the Tea Party was Black?, to the hard-hitting hilarity of Republican Woman … stay away from me, Jasiri X uses hip-hop music and images to comment politically and to raise awareness about social issues.
A regular radio and television guest, Jasiri X has performed from New York to Berlin. He has two full-length albums, the award-winning American History X (2009) and Ascension (2013). He is also the creative force behind the YouTube political news series This Week with Jasiri X. Jasiri was the first hip-hop artist to receive the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Fellowship in Pittsburgh. A founding member of the anti-violence group One Hood, Jasiri started the 1Hood Media Academy to teach young African-American boys how to analyze and create media for themselves.
The 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Puget Sound is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
For directions and a map of the University of Puget Sound campus:pugetsound.edu/directions
For accessibility information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 253.879.3236, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.
Press photos of Jasiri X can be downloaded from pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.
Photos on page: Top right: Jasiri X; Above: Martin Luther King Jr. 1964 (Library of Congress photo)
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