Down in New Orleans, Dillard University’s graduating Class of 2018 is preparing to walk away from their soon-to-be alma mater with one of the best parting gifts a 20-something could ask for. The historically black college recently announced that this year’s commencement speaker will be none other than millennial music behemoth, Chance The Rapper, a continuation of their streak of impressive guests (they nabbed Janelle Monae for last year’s festivities.
While the student body likely feels pride in the announcement, this is no doubt a victory for Dillard University president Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough—who teaches a hip-hop and ethics class and is also known as the Hip-Hop Prez—who admires Chance for a multitude of reasons. The eldest Bennett brother’s outright love for the Lord, family appeal and indie music hustle impressed Kimbrough so much that he sought the rapper out for a campus appearance for two years.
“He’s not signed but a multiple Grammy winner,” Kimbrough said recently. “He’s the artist that your grandmother would love.” On top of this artistic appeal, Kimbrough was also moved by how often and how loudly Chance speaks out in the name of activism, political accountability and morality. “The activism is a bonus with Chance,” he said. “I thought he made for a great commencement speaker because of his spirit of being entrepreneurial and authentic. But his civic engagement, including encouraging people to vote and willingness to speak out on issues, like his recent opposition to a Heineken ad, are just as paramount.”
We are still celebrating! Can’t wait for #MyDU #2018 Commencement Sat., May 12, at 8 a.m. on The Oaks. And you’re invited! @chicagotribune @Suntimes @nytimes @washingtonpost @AP @NPR @nprmusic @whereyatnola @VibeMagazine @TheSource @BET @MTV @WBOK1230 @mypower1029 #DillardGrad18 pic.twitter.com/cmXTm0Ij5Q
— Dillard University (@du1869) April 6, 2018
It’s no secret that Chano has an affinity for HBCUs. Last August, he publicly expressed his (current) desire to attend Clark Atlanta University not as an honorary student, but as a “full blown” attendee. The tweet set off a temporary (and lighthearted) Twitter feud between CAU and it’s neighboring school, Morehouse College.
Maybe being surrounded by the feeling of black excellence at Dillard University will expedite his journey to enrollment at one of the aforementioned schools. Dillard’s commencement ceremonies will take place on May 12 at 9 a.m. on the campus’ Avenue of the Oaks.