Chicago, Illinois emcee Lupe Fiasco was among distinguished presenters at this past weekend at what is being called the Mass Black Male Graduation And Transition To Manhood ceremony. Held at Chicago State University, the Atlantic Records star made a speech lambasting the education system and praising their efforts.

“Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world. You have just spent the last…12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth. You are at least four, five steps behind people in other countries that are younger than you,” began Lupe, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. He also said, “Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now. The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. That’s just dress. That’s just some clothes. Meaningless clothes, too, because they have no real purpose in life. They don’t keep you warm. What do they do? They just represent to someone else that you’ve achieved something. But then when you look back at it, what have you achieved?” He continued, “For young Black men…it is one the last things that we have . . . and one of the last things that we can control. Manhood is connected to humanity.”

Fiasco reportedly offered $100 to each student who attended the event. The newspaper claimed that approximately 150 grads appeared to see the Food & Liquor creator.

Philip Jackson of The Black Star Project organized the event. He praised Lupe’s strong words, “[Lupe Fiasco] gave the young people their first real dose of reality.”

The Chicago Sun-Times covered the event in full.

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