Hip Hop Forum Digital Magazine Article/Video KRS-One
Article written By Andrew “D-Boogie” Smith
Video by Anthony Gilliam
It is Tuesday January 19th, 2016. On the perfect day, the day after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, at Virginia State University, which is a “historic black” college founded on March 6, 1882, a crowd of people gather to “see” and “hear” one of the most brilliant souls to ever exist, give an equally amazing, very detailed lecture that included topics like knowledge and self-awareness, the difference between BLACK history and African American history, education, and much, much more. His name is Lawrence “Krisna” Parker, better known as KRS- One.
Sarcastically he said in his own words, “The discussion I would like to have with all of you here is about an eight hour discussion, but I’m going to try to break it down to five.” “Some of what I’m about to tell you, you will not find in books or on the internet.” KRS proceeds to ask “What is knowledge?” “Knowledge is awareness, knowledge is not books, knowledge is not words, knowledge is awareness.” “Information and education is not awareness, education is training.” “In fact, American education is all about training you for the job market.” “Education is good, if you are on your way to employment.” “You can join some company or corporation and rise up in that, there is a lot going on over there, not looking down on it or nothing.” Then he proceeds to say something strong that I have been preaching for a long time, “You will never be rich if you have a job. You will never be wealthy employed. Only the entrepreneur, the self-educated, self-employed, self-reliant, are the people that move forward through all obstacles in life.”
He continues on to say “Most people rely on information over knowledge, whatever they are told they believe. The last thing they were told is where they are directing their entire life toward.” That is amazing to me. It struck me because he proceeded to say what I was thinking. “So if the last thing they were told was on the radio.” “Yo I’m standing on the block, blah blah…” “You direct your entire life toward that.” So to me, it makes me want to push even harder to bring back that positive vibe in hip hop, opposed to what is considered “hot” in the mainstream, which I guess is at least 85% composed of negative vibes. If we don’t, hip hop will continue to lose the positive power it had, and to a certain extent still has, to have a great influence on not only the culture, but the entire world. Think about it, hip hop is 100% worldwide now, so if 85% of hip hop was 100% positive, maybe the world would be a little better.
So now that we know the difference between knowledge, education, and information, let’s jump back in to the lecture. KRS later goes on to say “On top of information, education, and knowledge, there is intelligence.” “Intelligence is the ability to know, it is not knowing, it is the ability to know.” “Having the ability to know, is what makes you knowledgeable.” “If you have the ability to know something, you become aware, and once you become aware, you’re free.” I don’t know how you feel, but that is some good knowledge, that you more than likely won’t find in a book.
After giving a very detailed explanation of how we create our own different realities involving a plumber, electrician, and a painter, explaining how awareness and knowledge influences those realities, he goes on to say, or by now scream because he is so deeply entrenched in his word, that “In the United States, we say man black people got it hard in the U.S.” Then after a three second pause he says something brilliant. “Black people should expand their vocabulary.” “The more words we know, the more things, or realities, we are able to see.” “We are not trapped by our government, we are trapped by our own ignorance, and the minute we get past that, there is no threat in this world.” “African Americans sit at the very top of African existence in the world today, but we don’t think that, why? Because we don’t have words like Pan-Africanism, Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism, or Slavery in our vocabulary. These have to be regular words in your vocabulary for you to see it because human beings cannot see reality without words.” “So I start here with knowledge, knowledge is about awareness.”
“So we have this word, black history. Black is a word and history is a word.” “If black is not on your everyday vocabulary you’re not going to really see black struggle, you will hear about it, you will be angry, but you will always be objective to it.” “We say America more than black woman or Africa every day, so how can we even see?” “Through education, meaning the training, we have been desensitized to our own self” “So the education or training is to approach everything objectively and not subjectively, to not be part of what you are looking at, that is the colonizers approach to reality.”
Attending this lecture was probably one of the best decisions I have never made. Even though I have covered a lot of knowledge, I have barely scratched the surface of what he said, but you are in luck. If you want to see the entire video, just click play on the video at the top of the page.
I think I speak for everyone when I say we must thank not only KRS for taking his time out to do this, but everyone that took part in helping to make this happen. VSU Mass Communication, VSU’s own radio station 91.3 WVST, Doug Evans and Rodney Stith of “The Soul Logistics Radio Show,” which if you have not checked out you need to. Also the brilliant queen Dr. Zoe Spencer, Chill Will, Anthony Gilliam for the video, and anyone else I forgot that helped put this together and make it work!