sealPurdue News

February 1, 2002

Black Cultural Center presents unique lecture on black leadership

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A social activist regarded by Black Cultural Center staff as the "premier public intellectual of his generation" will lecture at Purdue University at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Matthews Hall, Room 210.

Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou will deliver a speech entitled, "The Crisis in Black Leadership: A Hip-Hop Response." Sekou is a preacher, actor, educator and author in his twenties. As president of a consulting firm called the Sekou Co., he has shared his views on inner-city crime with policy-makers in Trenton, N.J., Chicago and Washington, D.C. He also has discussed problems faced by inner-city youth on CNN and C-SPAN and has lectured throughout the United States. He currently serves as a co-director with the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

Renee Thomas, Black Cultural Center director, says Sekous' lectures and writings are critically acclaimed.

"His youthfulness, academic pursuits, community involvement and lecturers are filled with drama, knowledge and honesty," Thomas says.

Sekou says he strives to deliver his speeches with "the intellectual complexity of W.E.B. DuBois, the fire of Malcolm X and the passion of Martin Luther King Jr." In February 2001, he released a book titled "Urban Souls," in which he discusses AIDS, religion, youth, popular culture, racism, sexism and homophobia.

Sekou also has collaborated on a lecture tour with Cornel West, a professor of African-American Studies at Harvard University. Tentatively entitled, "Over Troubled Waters: Bridging the Generational Gap," their lecture examines the generational gap between the civil rights generation and the hip-hop generation. Sekou is actively working on a novel, memoirs and a biography on Donny Hathaway.

Sekou also serves AmeriCorps as a trainer on urban youth issues. In 1996, he was presented the Professional Service Award by the St. Louis Partners AmeriCorps for his commitment to urban children.

Past accomplishments include an internship at the Tennessee state capitol during which Sekou drafted legislation funding three model programs for at-risk youth. Sekou also designed and instructed two courses for the St. Louis public schools in which 200 students were trained in conflict resolution, mediation and alternatives to gang violence. He has negotiated a truce between rival gangs.

A past contributor to the St. Louis Northstar Journal, Sekou has written essays on the African-American church, Generation X, urban youth and popular culture. He also has discussed "gangsta rap" during a televised panel sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

A former member of the All-African People's Revolutionary Party and the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, Sekou has worked with Pan-African Movement USA and the Association of African Historians. He also has collaborated on projects with Stokely Carmichael and John Henrik Clarke.

CONTACT: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page