African American popular culture takes center stage at speech tonight

Tim Paluch

Black History Month begins today, and the man U.S. News called a “hip-hop intellectual” will be on campus to help kick-off the celebration.The Black Student Alliance will welcome author Michael Dyson to address the topic of the black community in popular culture, at 8 tonight in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union. Dyson was featured in U.S. News in November of 1996 because of his book Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line.Robert Price, BSA president, said Dyson was chosen because of his wide audience appeal.”BSA wanted a speaker who would address the conditions of modern-day African Americans,” said Price, junior in management information systems.Price said although Dyson’s subject matter is geared toward the black community, it can be beneficial to anyone.Dyson is the author of “Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture,” “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X,” “Race Rules” and “I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.”Dyson earned his masters and doctorate in religion from Princeton University and is the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University in Chicago.Price said the author’s reputation as an black scholar was influential in his selection.Lee Ann Davis, program coordinator for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, said Dyson is an excellent choice to speak on the first day of Black History Month.”He is a good speaker, especially for the students,” she said. “He has a pulse on African-American issues like education and working with youth.”Davis and Price said they have both heard Dyson speak in the past, and said he has a style that will keep those in attendance paying attention.”He is a dynamic speaker and he really hits home on a lot of issues,” Davis said.