Personally, I had no idea who he was. I would nod my head in false acknowledgement at the sound of his name at times, though clearly those around me were aware of my ignorance and occasionally would smile. It was present in the eyes and the tones of their voices however, that he truly was bigger than I was aware of. Not only that, but he was highly respected when talked about, not only as an artist, but as a person as well.
On October 1st, 2011, Local Rap Artist Macklemore attended a Teen Tracey meeting that was held at lunch that day at Ingraham High School. Although it was discussed in our previous meetings that we were trying to get the artist to attend to one of our meetings, that was all I knew about him. That however was not the case for the majority of the students who attended Ingraham High School. It took less than two minutes for the news of his arrival to quickly spread throughout the school. It had gotten to the point where security had to lock the room that we were situated in due to the overly crowded room, full of nervous, eager students as they would first lay eyes on the artist, gleaming in excitement, anticipating for him to speak. I still however had no idea what was going on in the emotion filled room. I would look around as students would have their phones and cameras out, taking pictures, giggling and looking around for some assurance that they were not the only ones who loosing their minds. It was then, when he began to talk. You could see the gleeful joy that was absorbed just by the announcement of his name, which quite honestly, I found to be a bit overwhelming to see. They were literally head over heals for the man. I felt like I was about to enter a Justin Beiber concert. But then, he began introducing himself, his past and present, his achievements and regrets, and how that all led to future goals. He began to explain why he felt the need to be part of Youth Ambassadors. He shared the struggles he encountered growing up as a kid who had little to no interest in school. How at the age of 13, drugs presented themselves and became the leading struggle throughout his life as it became an addiction. He shared the lack of motivation he contained when it came to school and how it began with skipping just one class, then another, and so on a so forth until he completely stopped going all together. I was quite frankly memorized as the whole room was at the pure honestly that came forth behind every word. I was touched, we all were. What he spoke of wasn’t something new, I could guarantee that 75% of the class felt and or experienced, including myself, somewhat similar if not the same experiences as he was describing, whether it be through personal experience or observing it first had from a loved one which just made
the whole situation even more real. Because he may have gone through it… but the point was, he got through it and look where he was now, advocating for change a local legend about to tackle to world with an upcoming tour in Europe. But as if that wasn’t enough, he began to rap which in the end left me both in tears and at awe.
Here I just met a man with many struggles who instead of blaming society or the world or anyone as we do when we can’t admit our own faults for that matter, instead took the initiative to speak out, make it a point to announce the troubles of the youth, and a point to change them all with the help of the youth themselves because, who better is there to understand them than their own peers.
written by Ingraham student: Fortuna G-Sellassie
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