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Buggin Malone raps, utilizes past

By Danielle Jurski
On April 14, 2010

While everyone has a struggle, it's always a dif­ferent story. Some artists choose music as an outlet to tell their stories. Buggin Malone, a Na­tive American rapper from Wisconsin, came to OU's campus to share his story in hopes to educate listeners. "I try to educate through my music," he said. "But I use humor as well. It goes back to being raised in the city, it's powerful." But it wasn't always easy for Malone. He was incar­cerated as a teen, and said that this has had a large impact on his music and re­ligious beliefs. Politics and race are also topics Malone hopes to educate his listen­ers about. "This is American, we're still dealing with racial slurs," Malone said. "We're all human beings, and God would never turn us away for our color." It's something that Malo­ne has seen firsthand, and comments that he has seen some of his friends' life­styles change. "We're running out of people who care," he said. "I put my head down in shame, their identity is completely lost. I may not be hitting the trails, but I am (showing I care) musically." Sarah Ngoh, Adawe Life Plan advisor and instruc­tor of arts and humanities, brought Malone to campus because she wants to sup­port the university's com­mitment to diversity. She also feels that his music is a creative way to create dia­logue. "I am teaching a first-year seminar this semester, and for a couple of the les­sons plans we focused on various social justice move­ments in this country. As I was researching a YouTube video on the American In­dian Movement to show in class, I came across a song by Buggin Malone called "Dedication to Leonard Pel­tier." I liked the message in the song, and researched Buggin. I then contacted him and asked if he'd be interested in performing at OU," she said. Some students think that the concert provided a posi­tive atmosphere. "I think it's great that the university brought a con­cert series to campus," Au­tumn Romig, first year said. "It's something different, and I hope it's something that continues on campus. It was good to see an arts event on campus." An event that was meant to send a message to the student body. "I believe that celebrating and creating the opportuni­ty for diversity is absolutely necessary at liberal arts in­stitutions," Ngoh said. "I feel that Buggin demon­strated diversity, not just in his own identity but in his message as well. He raps about tolerance and strug­gle, and the importance of respecting people for who they are." And Ngoh thinks it did just that. "I think the concert went well," she said. "It was well attended, and people seemed to enjoy themselves. The audience seemed re­ceptive to his message, even those who don't necessarily care for hip hop." After the concert, a talk­back session was held in the union where students had the opportunity to meet Malone and talk about the messages he conveys though his music. "The environment felt safe, and Buggin was an ap­proachable guy, so students were able to ask difficult questions and receive hon­est responses," Ngoh said. "I think the talkback session did what it was supposed to do: create more questions and, as a result, more dia­logue." During the talkback ses­sion, Malone said music is what he felt he was truly called to do and has en­couragement for those who want to share their stories. "Keep doing what you be­lieve in, there's no stopping dreams," he said. "Music is harmony and life. Keep it natural."

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