Nature of the beast

By By Ana Breton and By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

Even though Mutulu Olugabala has created more than five hip-hop and rap albums, he doesn’t want you to think of him as a rapper.

Olugabala, who is commonly known as M-1, wants people to think of him as a revolutionary. M-1, alongside Clayton Gavin (, makes up the “politically charged, tell-it-like-it-is” rap duo called dead prez.

“Consider me a freedom fighter,” M-1 said. “While my occupation may be of a rapper, my job is to start a revolution.”

A revolution, M-1 said, begins by changing people’s perceptions, from issues like Hurricane Katrina to the way Black History Month is celebrated.

“F*** Black History Month,” M-1 said to the Union Ballroom on Thursday night. “It’s an insult to our people. We might as well call it Crack History Month.”

M-1 said designating one month out of the year does not do “an inch of good” for black people because it celebrates culture materialistically instead of educating the public about “the true nature of the beast.”

“We have to redefine history. We have to teach people that there’s a difference between black power and civil rights — it’s not one movement,” he said.

The only people that benefit from Black History Month are Black Entertainment Television and Coca Cola, he said.

“Black History Month also just promotes separation,” said Spencer Goar, an undecided freshman.

The Jamaican-born M-1 also talked about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He visited New Orleans two days before the lecture.

“We got to call it like it is. It’s not Hurricane Katrina; its Hurricane America,” he said. “The damage didn’t happen during the storm, but after the storm.”

The only way to stop discrimination, M-1 said, is to fight against it.

The most emotional part of the lecture did not take place during M-1’s speech, but during the question-and-answer portion of the event, when Earl Smith stood up and told his story.

Four years ago, 22-year-old Tory Lee Jacques crashed his car into Smith’s family while they were walking in front of a McDonalds in Magna.

His son, Darius Smith, was killed as Jacques ran over the 6-year-old’s body repeatedly with his car. Smith’s two other children suffered serious injuries, including a spinal injury and concussions. To this day, Smith takes 25 prescription pills because of his injuries and must use a cane to walk.

Although Jacques pleaded guilty to two counts of driving under the influence, Smith said he does not fully believe the accident was caused by alcohol.

“There’s still discrimination going on,” Smith said. “The man is up for parole in three years. If it would have been me, they would have given me life.”

Because of the accident, M-1 said he wants students to start a revolution against racism.

“A revolutionary is worth 10 citizens,” he said. “While your occupation may be to be a student, it is your job to change the world. If we don’t make it right, who will?”

Lennie Mahler

Audience member Earl Smith tells the story of his son’s death, caused by a 22-year-old driving his car into Smith’s family as they were walking in front of a McDonalds in Magna four years ago. Smith says the driver of the vehicle is up for parole in three years, an injustice in which he believes race is a factor.

Lennie Mahler

Mutulu “M-1” Olugabala