Last week, Professor of the Year and Associate Professor of Philosophy, Julius Bailey was invited to Capital University to speak on hip-hop’s role in social justice in America.
Almar Walter, director of diversity and inclusion at Capital University said, “we chose him [Bailey] because when we were putting together our black history roster, we wanted to have somebody kind of both educational and social that was both really relevant to the discussions that students are having on our campus.”
“So we came across philosophy, some diversity of inclusion and hip-hop, and we were trying to decide on how to tie all of this together. We came up with Dr. Julius Bailey,” Walter said.
While they did not have to Google search the professor, he was referred in a conversation to Walter by John Young, associate dean of multicultural student programs and professor of political science.
“We actually [were] talking with John Young and he mentioned him. So I said ‘let me check his body of work out.’ I went online to his website, then I called [Bailey] to talk a little about structuring tonight’s talk and current events at Capital,” Walter stated.
Bailey spoke on contemporary hip-hop and its philosophical significance.
“People recognized that my purpose in this art is to be different,” Bailey told the Capital students. “Now I know 2-Chains had the song ‘I’m different, yea, I’m different.’ No you’re not. You’re the same. The same party, get high, drink. The same language that effectively contributes to your lack of power. To have success but no power.”
Students reacted to Bailey’s talk positively.
Capital student of psychology and senior Re’Sean Johnson said, “I was honestly impressed with how he delivered the message. I’m a person who goes to bat for Kanye, so he gave me some more scholarly information on how to back my arguments up.”
After finding Bailey and speaking with him, Walter said that Capital was trying “to figure out what would be the best talk, the best presentation.” Finally “we decided that the Kanye piece would be a good piece and connection with what is going on at Capital and what engages our students,” he added.
“It was a great talk; I am a Kanye West fan, so it was refreshing,” Brando Brisdo, a sophomore at Capital, said. “The whole time, I was like ‘thank you, thank you’…it was just refreshing this whole time.”
Lastly, Walter spoke to the hip-hop philosopher’s ability to fill a room with college students: “He resonated well with our students. It was a two-hour event. We didn’t give away anything for free — no extra credit, no food — and students came to hear him talk for two-hours, and I think that speaks well of his ability to connect and speak with students.”
During the week of Feb. 21, Bailey will engage in talks in three states and eight cities ranging from community colleges to correctional institutions to upward bound programs.