Chicago native and Grammy award winning hip-hop artist Kanye West was back home Thursday. A number of us Chicago media types (won't name names) on hand for a pre-show press conference expected the jerk we'd, in the past, seen 'go off' on the press, at award ceremonies, etc.
Not this day. "Seems like a nice guy," we said amongst ourselves, after the fact. Of course he was in town representing the charity foundation he and his beloved, deceased mother (Chicago educator Donda West) collaborated on.
Under that umbrella, West gave a **free noon-time concert at the Chicago Theatre. Some 'three thousand' Chicago public school students from six city schools attended. Though the kids who got to go, had to *earn their way with good attendance and grades.
Interestingly, though this concert effort was all about staying in school -- Kanye West isn't a 100-percent proponent of higher education. At his press conference he said that he felt high school is a necessity, but then added, "Anything you have to pay for (i.e. college) is your choice." He advised that if a young person could get a job (get their foot in the door) in their chosen industry and start making money in these recessionary times -- they should do so.
He did underline though, that his leaving college early was a struggle between he and his mother. Obviously, the teacher mom wanted her son to get a degree. And Kanye did attend college until he got real record label interest. Says he majored in English and specifically took a 'Speech' class because he says, "I thought I was gonna have to give speeches after my music came out." It drew a definite laugh from all us media folks.