by Stavroula Harissis
It’s Monday, January 21, 2013. Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, is being inaugurated for his second and final term in office. As is custom, he takes his oath of office with one hand on the Bible, this one extra-special for having once belonged to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Some see this as a wonderful symbol of the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream. I see it as pure blasphemy.
Thankfully, another African American man representing Chicago decided to honor King’s memory in a different way.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco, known for his criticism of President Obama and the U.S. government in general, was invited to headline an unofficial inaugural celebration concert Sunday in Washington DC. Reports state that he was forced off stage after performing the song “Words I Never Said” for 30 minutes straight, along with ad-lib criticism of the President and his penchant for drone assassinations.
In response to the incident, event promoters stated: “This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.”
In any case, I admire Lupe’s openly critical lyrics and his courage to perform them, even in the face of repression and reprisal. I’m glad he was given a chance to make this statement on the eve of the day we honor Dr. King as a nation.
And I invite you to ask yourselves, who has truly honored Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend: President Obama, who rests his hand on the Bible in order to accept his continued power to assassinate innocents with impunity? Or Lupe Fiasco, who wraps his hand around the mic in order to speak truth to power and demand justice?