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January 10, 2014 — Rapper Talib Kweli will deliver the keynote speech for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue (MLK DOD) program Jan. 20-25 at the University of Wyoming.
The politically attuned entertainer’s talk is aligned with this year’s MLK DOD theme, “Dream Forward.” He will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the Wyoming Union Ballroom. The theme was chosen in honor of the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the historic march on Washington, D.C.
A Brooklyn-based rapper, Kweli earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. He gained fame with Black Star, the hip-hop duo with Mos Def. The duo formed in 1997 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s also joined forces with producer Hi-TEk to form Reflection Eternal and collaborated with other artists to release tunes through the group Idle Warship.
“My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” he says. “I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general.”
His latest work, “Prisoner of Conscious,” his fifth solo studio album, was released last May and received favorable reviews. His other releases include “Gutter Rainbows”; his most successful work, “The Beautiful Struggle”; “Eardrum,” his highest debut album on the Billboard Charts at No. 2; “Liberation”; and his debut piece “Quality,” which his fans call a hip-hop classic.
His hit singles include “Get By,” “Push Thru,” “Upper Echelon” and “I Try.”
He has collaborated throughout his career with such notable artists as Common, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Nelly, John Legend, Busta Rhymes and Norah Jones.
For more information, visit his website at www.talibkweli.com.
MLK DOD celebrates the continuing influence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and ideals through scheduled events throughout the week. The annual program renews UW’s commitment to making campus a more welcoming and empowering place for people from different backgrounds, heritages, orientations, abilities and perspectives, say co-chairs Chicory Bechtel and Erin Olsen.
“Planning efforts this year have placed a continuing emphasis on building community and promoting awareness of diversity through dialogue,” Bechtel says. “Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue provides an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our community, get involved and make a difference.”
Among other highlights of the annual week of events is a video project that will give UW students voice to their vision for moving the dream forward, she adds.
“All events are free and open to the public. A small number of events will require reserving free tickets or registering in advance,” Bechtel says. “We encourage students, staff, faculty, and members of our Laramie and Wyoming communities to join us throughout the week.”
For full details of all events, visit the MLK DOD website at http://www.mlkdod.com/. Other highlights of the week are:
Monday, Jan. 20, 1 p.m. -- Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service, volunteers will meet in the Wyoming Union.
4 p.m. -- Annual MLK March begins at the Albany County Courthouse and ends at the Wyoming Union Ballroom.
4:45 p.m. -- Willena Stanford Community Supper and program, Wyoming Union Ballroom.
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 12:15-1:15 p.m. -- Luncheon panel discussion, “Sharing Forward: The Untold Stories of Wyoming’s People,” Wyoming Union Family Room.
7 p.m. -- Jazz performance by Galen Abdur-Razzaq, with opening music by UW student jazz combo, Wyoming Union lower level.
Wednesday, Jan. 22, noon-1:30 p.m. -- “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America” book discussion hosted by Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning, Coe Library Room 506. Advance registration required.
Noon-1 p.m. -- Gene Policinski of the Newseum and the First Amendment Center will discuss the power of the First Amendment, “Taking the ‘First’ Step,” Wyoming Union Family Room.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 12:30-2 p.m. -- “The Black 14 and the Dream Today” panel discussion with UW Black 14 football players, Wyoming Union Center Ballroom.
7 p.m. -- “Fruitvale Station” film screening, Wyo Theater, 309 S. Fifth St.
7 p.m. -- Introduction to Islam, Albany County Public Library.
Friday, Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m. -- Yoga session with Blossom Yoga, Wyoming Union Family Room.
4 p.m. -- International Coffee Hour with the UW International Students Association, Wyoming Union Skylight Lounge.
9 p.m. -- Spoken word artist “The Asia Project,” UW College of Education auditorium.
Saturday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m. -- UW United Multicultural Council Diversity Ball, Wyoming Union Ballroom.