First things first: Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to all. This is a big day for this country and it should be recognized as such. We still have a long way to go as a whole, but today is a good day to reflect back and realize how far we have actually come as American people.

Civil rights have been fought for through the ages and generations and over the years, with different groups going through the growing pains and tribulations, progressing toward real American life, love, and the inalienable pursuit of happiness. Every generation has a group fighting to be treated fairly in this country: women in the early 20th Century, blacks in the ‘50s and ‘60s and the less publicized and just as important El Movimiento for Chicanos, gay rights in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and the all-encompassing LGBTQ Movement happening right now. We are all people. Why is it taking so long for everyone to realize this? Barack Obama sounded like a man on a mission to make that realization a reality for all during another one of his world-class speeches at the Inauguration today He urged a coming together of sorts, regardless of political affiliation. Dr. King, another legendary speaker, would’ve been proud.

And if we are to take El Presidente at his word, then the progress would’ve already been made. The problem is not the idealism. The problem is the lack of follow through. He did vow to be more assertive in the next four years, though, so watch out for that.

All that being said, two strong Chicagoans lead the way in a modern day struggle to carry on Dr. KIng’s legacy, albeit in two very different mediums. Barack Obama on the political front, Lupe Fiasco on the musical side of things. The two may not seem connected at first glance, but upon further inspection the two share more than what first meets the eye.

Given Lupe Fiasco’s reputation, I’m curious as to how he landed on an inauguration party lineup to begin with. Plus…The Obama Administration had to know what they were getting themselves into when they hired Lupe Fiasco to perform at a political event, so why were they surprised that he spouted off?

The lyrics under fire are from an album that’s over two years old, so plenty of time was allowed for them to do their homework and due diligence to make sure their entertainment was in line with what they had in mind: “Limbaugh is a racist. Glenn Beck is a racist. Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit. That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either. I’m part of the problem? My problem is I’m peaceful. And I believe in the people.” The song itself is a protest against the presidency, and Lupe took the opportunity at an inauguration event to expand the song into a 30 minute protest. Dr. KIng, another legendary voice of the people, would’ve been proud.

He is speaking for the voiceless in a time when the injustices done by our government outweigh the good they are doing for the community. And Lupe cares deeply for his community, as evidenced not only by his socially conscious lyrics, but by his involvement and willingness to give. He wants the community to thrive and reach its maximum potential in a time of upheaval. And this ain’t no new thing. Martin spoke about it. Malcolm acted on it. Gil Scott waxed philosophical about it. And now Lupe raps about it. So, Mr. President, why are the communities still failing to get off the ground and into some sunshine? Why is the very city you hail from still soaring in the category of crime? Prior to your first election, you campaigned under the guise of hope, and Lupe Fiasco is one providing that very hope for the people you lead with your powerful words. Some of us bleed red, white, and blue for you. Some of us hope to the highest heights because of you, but it seems as though we can’t make any headway unless we’re making headlines.

So here’s a headline for you and a headline for America: Who’s The Modern Day MLK: President Barack Obama or Mister Lupe Fiasco? I am always interested in these types of debates, because quite frankly, there are no right or wrong answers…only meaningful conversation. And having these conversations is half the battle.

Highlights from Obama’s Inauguration speech:

-a vow to spend the next four years being more assertive. Well, now that you’re nice and comfortable after attempting to clean up the massive mess left for you by W and his cronies, you can focus on your political agenda. Yay for that.

-”For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”

-‎”Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

Like I said, and there’s no disputing this one: President Obama talks a good game.

How is he going to handle immigration reform? Does he actually plan to end the war in Afghanistan or will it continue to be another empty promise? He unapologetically protects gay rights, so let’s see some permanence there. Most recently the passage of gun laws has caught everyone’s attention, including the sleeping giant known as the NRA. The execution of a workable health care system and banking reform still sit on the to-do list. Not to mention the reworking of the tax code and social safety net. The list goes on and on.

Hey Lupe! You ready to take on all that?

I just really like the fact that Lupe’s beef ain’t with a fellow rapper. It’s with the Leader of The Free World. That my friends, is what you call progress.

Let’s play two!

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