Weeks after The Huffington Post published a news story stating that an essay from KRS-One was among a handful of items the outgoing head of Arizona’s Education Department was hoping to ban, the Bronx, New York rapper has offered his thoughts on the controversy.
After being asked about the controversy during an interview with Rolling Stone, KRS-One revealed that it shows how bleak the American school system is. He added that he was given proof as to why the school system feels the curriculum he’s included in is considered illegal.
According to the rapper, the school system felt that teaching Hip Hop meant they were “promoting a specific ethnic group.”
“It just goes to show how far American education really is,” KRS-One said. “They’re trying to teach hip-hop from a historical perspective and this is what the Arizona state superintendent, or the ‘law’ that was cited, is up against. Knowledge has moved past the law. They gave me a copy of the law while I was there and said, ‘This is why our curriculum is ‘illegal.’’
“Their conclusion was that hip-hop was seen as promoting a specific ethnic group,” he added. “The state would like to promote individualism over collectivism. Of course the predominantly Mexican population out here in Arizona just went up in flames. But no one even knew that the law existed. Even the teachers and the principal was shocked at this. In [the state’s] view, they felt that this curriculum was turning kids toward the specific view of hip-hop…What they want to do is stop us from using their forum to advance our culture. And I don’t know that that’s wrong. If you pay billions of dollars for schooling, and you’re the state – and you have the responsibility of keeping national identity together and maintaining colonialism as well – I don’t have a problem with being illegal in their eyes. It’s not real ‘illegal.’”
KRS-One, who has visited Arizona’s Cholla High Magnet School, was also asked about his thoughts on the school. Cholla High was singled out due to its African-American-focused English class, a class that utilized the wordsmith’s introduction to Hip Hop.
“I met Andrew, brilliant teacher. He’s just ahead of his time,” the rapper said. “I got to go to the classroom and it was amazing. It totally turned my opinion of public schooling around. I’m not a fan of public school at all; I think it’s one of the greatest catastrophes of American history. But when I went to Cholla High School, wow. Talking to the students was amazing. The honor was actually mine, more than theirs. Each time they thanked me, I said that they shouldn’t thank me for my responsibility. It’s the responsibility of artists everywhere to do whatever they can to steer young people in some sort of positive direction.”
In addition to KRS-One’s essay, the teaching of Mexican history and Rage Against The Machine lyrics were also deemed illegal.
For additional KRS-One coverage, watch the following DX Daily: