Chuck D’s Commitment to Fighting Racism

Photo by Mika Vaisanen

Hip Hop Artist and Activist Chuck D is Set to be the Keynote Speaker at the 2020 Grassroots Radio Conference

Chuck D rose to fame in the mid-80s as founder and member of the socially conscious hip-hop group, Public Enemy. If you’re unfamiliar with Chuck D and the impact he and Public Enemy had on hip hop heads across the world, please let me familiarize you. 

Travel back with me if you will, to the year 1989. Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing” has just been released, with Public Enemy’s track, “Fight the Power” spearheading the soundtrack. In the movie, a young Black male was murdered by the police in a confrontation that started because the music from his boombox was too loud. The character, “Radio Raheem” was murdered by asphyxiation, in front of an angry, exasperated crowd of black and brown faces. 

Our freedom of speech is freedom of death

We got to fight the powers that be.

Lemme hear you say

Fight the power


Fight the power

We’ve got to fight the powers that be

                                                            -Lyrics to “Fight the Power”, Public Enemy

Fast forward to now, over 30 years from the release of “Do the Right Thing” and we have watched the same scenario play out dozens of times, only it’s not a movie adorned with an all-star celebrity cast — it’s real life. Unarmed black men and women are being murdered at the hands of law enforcement, many of occasions caught on video by a bystander for the world to see. In the wake of the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, unrest has once again swept the nation, and Public Enemy has released a 2020 version of “Fight the Power”.

“The biggest difference between 1989 and 2020 is that people have been born and people have died, and within that period you continuously try to attack systemic racism and all those other ills – but you can’t do it blindly,” Chuck D expressed in an interview with BBC.

As a longtime supporter of community radio and the host of the weekly radio show, “And You Don’t Stop!,” Chuck D has not only been a tremendous voice in the fight against racism, he also uses his platform to speak out about fascism, politics, technology, and the media. In the battlefield known as 2020, it’s to say that we couldn’t have a more prolific revolutionary as the keynote. This is one event you don’t want to miss. 

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