The Garden City Telegram
1/24/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Sound note

Rapper promotes the value of local music endeavors.

Veteran rapper Chuck D hit on a number of important topics during his appearance in Garden City.

A founding member of the rap group Public Enemy and speaker at Garden City Community College's annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day celebration Monday, Chuck D addressed issues ranging from cyber bullying to gun control.

While his thoughts were timely and thought-provoking, Chuck D's take on the local arts community also was notable and refreshing, especially from someone who has enjoyed international success in the entertainment industry.

During his visit to GCCC, Chuck D implored his listeners to look to their own community for role models, rather than idolizing celebrities they'll only see from afar.

As for musicians, he encouraged the crowd of mostly GCCC students to consider the importance of homegrown talent. (He even plans to push radio stations to support local artists instead of just playing Top 40 music.)

The hip-hop culture Chuck D helped create — one that used to be more about the message in taking cues from the civil rights movement — has since spiraled downward with the music industry and media perpetuating negative stereotypes and failing in other ways.

It's no wonder the artist now is on a mission to encourage Americans to appreciate the talent and efforts in their own back yards.

His quest to encourage more radio play of local artists may not take hold in places with fewer professional bands. Still, Chuck D's words should hit home.

And we should make more of an effort to let music inspire us in our schools, churches and other local concert venues.

Whether it's rock bands that put on shows for local audiences — Mosaic's annual Battle of the Bands has helped put such groups in the spotlight — or other quality music, drama and arts endeavors that take place year-round, this community has a nice variety of options.

Artists responsible for those performances may hail from these parts or come to town for a performance. Either way, their endeavors improve local quality of life, and deserve our hearty applause.

On that note, Chuck D gave us all something to consider.