Legendary hip-hop artist Chuck D – born, Carlton Douglas Ridenhour – will be honored with the Woody Guthrie Prize, on November 16, at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Queens-bred emcee is known for his politically conscious lyrics, which he’s used to help spread awareness about the many injustice’s minorities face.
Ridenhour, an Adelphi University graduate, as well as the recipient of an honorary doctorate, began his rap career as a member of iconic hip-hop group, Public Enemy. Their 1988 sophomore album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, is not only considered a rap-classic, but standout records like “Rebel Without a Pause,” and “Night of the Living Basehead,” set the standard for politically conscious music.
Throughout his career, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has made it a point to address social-political issues facing the African American community, whether it be through his solo work, his contributions to Public Enemy and rap-rock supergroup, Prophets of Rage (alongside members of Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill emcee, B-real).
The Woody Guthrie Prize is awarded to artists who use their art to speak up for the less fortunate. It is presented in honor of American folk singer Woodrow Guthrie. Other recipients of the award include, gospel singer Mavis Staples, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, and television producer, Norman Lear, who produced sitcoms such as, Sandford and Son, The Jeffersons, and Good Times.
“We are honored to recognize Chuck’s work as he shines a light on social and cultural issues through his words and encourages us all to take action for equality and justice. We know that Woody would be rapping right alongside him as he speaks truth to power,” said Deana McCloud, director of the Woody Guthrie Center, according to the official website of the Woody Guthrie center.
Tickets to see the presentation of the Woody Guthrie Prize and a discussion with Chuck D are available here.