Rap artist celebrates trailblazers

Shaun Boothe, a keynote speaker and recording artist, performs at the “Harmony in History” event Friday in the Campus Center Ballroom sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event was held as a celebration of Black History Month. / photo by Chris Rogers
Shaun Boothe, a keynote speaker and recording artist, performs at the “Harmony in History” event Friday in the Campus Center Ballroom sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event was held as a celebration of Black History Month. / photo by Chris Rogers

Jordan Alcasas
Staff Writer

Shaun Boothe, a recording artist and motivational speaker, shared his work “The Unauthorized Biography Series,” on Feb. 23 in the Campus Center before an audience of about 30. 

His rap songs centered on Black celebrities, depicting their impact and struggles.

Booth began with the story of Muhammed Ali, highlighting his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War draft along with his career as a boxer. 

“What stands out to me about Ali was his sense of purpose that we love,” Boothe said. “He made me ask what I’m working for. ‘Am I working for applause, or am I working for a cause?’”

Boothe moved on to Serena Williams, focussing on her challenging of norms as a Black woman in tennis. 

“The barriers to her success are what inspired me,” Boothe said. “From being born into poverty, to body shaming, to not having the personality that people wanted to see,” Boothe said. 

Wlliams’ success is an inspiration, her example of defying what is expected by society, Boothe said.

Boothe told Martin Luther King Jr.’s story next. King’s drive to stay true to his dream, despite the hate and discrimination, are exemplary, Boothe said.

Boothe also told the story of Bob Marley, and the “One Love” movement he spearheaded. Marley’s commitment to peace was even more important than his music, Booth said.

Boothe ended the performance by telling the story of his own career change, how after “hitting rock bottom,” he chose to focus on educating people through “The Unauthorized Biography Series.”

“It’s actually more of a failure to hold onto something that no longer serves you than it is to let it go,” Boothe said. 

Audience members appreciated the performance.

“I loved the piece (about) Bob Marley,” said Kira Annis, sophomore biology major. “I was always taught about his values. I loved how he was authentic and truthful. He’s more than his music… he’s about bringing people together.” 

Jimena Suarez, a junior business admin major and the multicultural chair of the Campus Activities Board, also enjoyed Boothe’s stories. 

“I thought it was a good mix of educational and fun,” Suarez said. 

CAB sponsored the event in honor of Black History Month. 

“These songs are a reminder of the courage and activity that exist in you as well,” Boothe told the audience. 

Jordan Alcasas can be reached at jordan.alcasas@laverne.edu.

Jordan Alcasas is a freshman journalism major and a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Chris Rogers is a junior photography major with a minor in art history. He is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and chief photographer of La Verne Magazine. He is also a freelance photographer and movie stills photographer. He discovered his love for photography at a young age as he and his family traveled the world in their goal to reach all seven continents. They were fortunate to reach their seventh continent in the winter of 2019. He have a deep love for photography and loves being able to tell an entire story through one still image at a time. His work can be found at ChrisRogersPhotography.com.

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