In a joint effort between the Division of Humanities, Social Sciences and the African-American Studies Program, the Office of Student Life, and the Hip-Hop 2020 Curriculum, Grammy-nominated recording artist and actor Kid Cudi visited Morehouse last Thursday.
Kid Cudi, whose debut album “Man of the Moon: The End Of Day” earned him three Grammy nominations, Entertainment Weekly’s Best Hip Hop Album of 2009 honor, and the title of Complex Magazine’s Best Album of 2009, spoke to Morehouse students for over an hour in Sale Hall Chapel.
“Kid Cudi is the voice for those stuck ‘in-between,” said Morehouse senior Eric Johnson. “He gives that middle ground, in-depth about his lifestyle. He breaks that ground of hyper-masculinity.”
Kid Cudi decided to visit Morehouse in a response to students from the African-American Studies class, “The Black Aesthetic: Hip Hop”, which used the rapper’s album as a case study towards understanding the leadership principles of the African oral tradition of Ma’at. In the lesson, the students were paired into groups to write research papers and deliver oral presentations on leadership principles found within Kid Cudi’s album.
Joyelyn Wilson, Ph.D., the course’s professor who also directs the Morehouse Hip-Hop 2020 Curriculum Project, narrated the discussion and used Cudi’s 2009 album as a backdrop for the conversation. The talk touched on leadership and the state of the black man, balancing gender roles in the age of the Renaissance Man, and spirituality in ethics.
“All of the themes and narratives that are on his album make Kid Cudi a Renaissance Rapper,” Wilson said. “And Morehouse College is a school where we are building Renaissance Men with a social conscious and we want to have that conversation in a contemporary way.”
During his time on campus, Kid Cudi met with Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Terry Mills and other administration officials. He was also able to participate in a brief campus tour where he learned much of the school’s history and current mission objectives. Cudi also took time to meet with the students who are a part of the Hip Hop 2020 Curriculum.
The project is a research, teaching, and outreach curriculum that uses hip-hop scholarship, popular media, and new technologies to develop the next generation of ethical leaders and scholars. The primary aim of the program is to bring clarity (20/20) to the constructive elements of hip-hop that foster active teaching and learning, and bring “strength in character and intellect” to emerging leaders and change agents aged 14 to 21.