Chain of events causes cancellation of Kweli lecture


    Talib Kweli is looking for answers just like everyone else.
    Black Student Union (BSU) organizers, Kweli fans, lecture attendees, and Kweli himself remain baffled by events that occurred on Tuesday, leading to the cancellation of rapper Kweli’s lecture on the influence of hip-hop on education.
    A free event, put on by the BSU and Student Governing Association, the Kweli lecture-attended by dozens of eager students-was first postponed because of airport delays and traffic problems, said event organizers. However,  what Kweli called miscommunication, left four campus police cars and an RCPD K-9 unit waiting for Kweli’s arrival at the Union.
    According to Kweli and BSU organizers, Kweli asked the driver of the K-State vehicle he was picked up from the airport in, if he could smoke.   At first, Kweli was given permission to do so, but upon realizing that Kweli meant marijuana, he said Bryon Williams, senior in economics and former  President of BSU, asked Kweli to put out the marijuana cigarette. Kweli said he did immediately out of respect and understanding that he was in a state vehicle.
    Once the vehicle arrived at the Union, campus police pulled Kweli
aside and began a legal search of the vehicle and Kweli. Campus police reported responding around 8 p.m. and in a statement from Captain Don Stubbings, they responded to the “[Union] for a report of drug use in a vehicle occupied by [Kweli] who was scheduled to address Kansas State University students. During the course of the investigation, occupants of the vehicle were questioned by officers and released without arrest.”
    While every story has at least two sides, all parties involved are still unsure of exactly why Kweli was smoking in the first place, what police found during the search and who alerted campus police about the incident. 
    Executive members of the BSU seemed most stumped as to why Kweli felt he needed to smoke an illegal substance prior to addressing students at the event, but Kweli has a completely different perspective on the issue.
    “If you’re a fan of my music, you’ve heard me speak about [marijuana use],” Kweli said, citing it as simply a part of his lifestyle.
    Kweli also said he disagrees with the illegality of the drug and, therefore, treats his use of it as a legal act.
    “I don’t want people to think that smoking [marijuana] hinders my ability to speak,” Kweli said. 
    After the police  searched and questioned Kweli, they made no arrest. Kweli said there wasn’t enough illegal substances to make charges. Kweli said the police did their job and were respectful.
    The rapper, who has worked with Kanye West and among many others, said he wished to “apologize to students looking forward to hearing   the speech.”
    Kweli also said he was frustrated that whomever alerted the police did not address him first.
    “A man tells you what he’s thinking,” he said, and while Kweli acknowledged that he put the events into action by smoking in the first place, alerting the police to be ready and waiting seemed unfair.
    Since August, BSU Freshman Action Team Coordinator Jasmine Hammond, freshman in PJMC, had planned on having Kweli come speak to students.
    She said BSU’s goal with bringing in the well-known Kweli, was to get more people involved with the BSU.
    Hammond said BSU lost no money because of the cancellation and that BSU members do not feel like the incident will affect future BSU events.