A Conversation with Chuck D

Event Information:
April 16, 2024
7 p.m.
Spartan Center on Bethlehem campus


Led by Professor Andrew McIntosh, the 2024 Annual Humanities Theme, “50 Years Down the Line: A Celebration of Hip Hop History and Culture,” explores and celebrates Hip Hop culture’s dynamic mix of influences and styles, how they came to be and evolved, and how they continue to thrive in American culture. Chuck D, the highly-acclaimed musician, producer, artist and activist, notably from the Hip Hop group Public Enemy, will be this year’s keynote speaker for NCC's Annual Humanities Program on April 16, 2024. 


Chuck D. first rose to fame in the 1980’s with a string of commercially successful albums that addressed weighty issues about race and inequality with a combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before. Leader and co-founder of legendary group Public Enemy, Chuck D. and his fellow members have been a historically notable hip hop group, highlighted in many culturally significant ways, including their song “Harder Than You Think” being selected for NBC’s official Super Bowl XLIX commercial. 


The New York Times has named Public Enemy to list of the “25 Most Significant Albums of the Last Century,” and the Library of Congress added “Fear of a Black Planet” to their National Recording Registry. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. “It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” and “Fear of A Black Planet” were both named to Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2020, the same year Public Enemy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the GRAMMYs. 


In 2023, Chuck D and his manager Lorrie Boula produced a four-part series covering the birth and evolution of hip-hop. In partnership with PBS and BBC studios, the acclaimed series traced the genre's role in the story of America; from the past 40 years, right up to the present day.  Featuring first-hand accounts from some of rap’s most integral players, the series deconstructed the origins of this bold and revolutionary art form through the voices of those who were there at the start. 


Chuck D., who runs his own record label, SpitSlam, has had music featured in films, docuseries, television and digital projects. He’s hosted several documentaries and television episodes, like the 2006 Sundance television special, “Chuck D’s Musicians Studio,” where he interviewed Quincy Jones. His involvement with non-profit organizations like MusicCares and Rock The Vote, earned Chuck D. the Patrick Lippert Award in 1996 for his contributions to community service. He’s also a visual artist whose work has been shown in galleries nationwide, and he released a limited-edition book and print collection of his fine art works. He’s a best-selling author, including his work, “This Day In Rap and Hip Hop History,” and he released a graphic novel. He is an artist in all areas of Hip Hop and pop culture.  


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