Bless The Mic is a contemporary spin on the traditional President’s Lecture Series. These events, held on hundreds of campuses across the country, have been a way to stimulate the intellectual discourse on the campus. Even today, these series seek to bring in noted scholars, authors, politicians and public intellectuals to expose not only the campus community to their ideas and concepts, but the broader community in which the institution resides.
These lectures also serve as an opportunity to hopefully expose the institution to a segment of the community that may have never interacted with the institution. Notable speakers are able to bring excitement to an area, and if they are published authors, their appearance is also an opportunity to stimulate interest in reading.
The problem with most of these traditional president's lecture series is that they have the tendency to become stale, stuffy, dry, and well, boring. For many students, while a lecture on quantum physics might be required for their major, it is not seen as a good way to spend an hour on a Tuesday night. Today’s students, many of whom are members of the Millennial Generation, have grown up in a high tech, fast-paced society that unfortunately has entertained them too often. Even the traditional college lecture, where the “sage on the stage” reads from their notes, loses today’s student.
Bless The Mic is different. It seeks to provide a mix of speakers who will either have a tremendous ability to communicate with the hip-hop generation (broadly defined as Black youth culture including college students and young professionals, but today includes a more diverse group of young people), or who have studied areas that are of importance to this group. Even the title of this lecture series is an attempt to reach this generation, as the phrase “Bless The Mic” is used to acknowledge rappers with exceptional lyrical skills. These lectures should then be of interest to parents, high school and college teachers, lawmakers, clergy, activists, and anyone interested in understanding contemporary issues.