Lawrence’s Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted Ise Lyfe, a self-proclaimed spoken word hip-hop theater artist from East Oakland, California last Wednesday, Feb. 10. Harper Hall provided an unlikely venue for Lyfe’s presentation, a fusion of slam poetry and lecture. At the beginning of his performance, Lyfe hinted at his show’s purpose by stating that his time onstage would not be spent chastising “whack rappers” but would actually be a “critical analysis of the millions of people who buy the whack rappers’ CDs.” Lyfe followed up this claim by examining the disparity between CDs sold by artists like Talib Kweli who uses positive lyrics to create constructive music and artists like Lil’ Wayne and 50 Cent whose lyrics advocate “black on black” violence, materialism, and the exploitation of women. Lyfe pointed out consumers’ roles in constructing and maintaining dangerous racial stereotypes. “We are the answer and the absolute threat,” he stated. To address popular culture’s encouragement of “black on black violence,” Lyfe showed pictures of Tupac Shakur and Malcolm X on autopsy tables. “No one cares about black people dying.including black people,” Lyfe exclaimed. Lyfe used the images of Tupac and Malcolm X to transition his talk into an examination of the efficacy of Black History Month. Lyfe contended that if Americans continue to propagate racial images of violence, Black History Month will continue to fail to make any substantial difference. The answer, Lyfe argued, is to replace the black historical narrative that is “violent, materialistic, and degrades women” with one that is “holistic.” Lyfe concluded his performance by advising the audience to be proactive in reshaping America’s cultural biases and stereotypes. Lyfe’s performance is one of many programs that the Office of Multicultural Affairs is facilitating in order to celebrate Black History Month and honor the diversity of Lawrence students. Program Coordinator for Multicultural Affairs Rose Wasielewski explained that Lawrence’s Office of Multicultural Affairs was founded in 1988 as an outlet for students to “express and explore culture and identity.” Wasielewski described her personal goals in working at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. She wishes to “remind students that diversity is so much more than having a different skin color or being from a different country.” Wasielewski promoted OMA programming as a means to connect with fellow students and faculty, encouraging them to “learn from each other and engage in conversation.” To start these conversations, the OMA hosts monthly dinners in the Diversity Center. The next dinner is Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6 p.m., and the Afro-Caribbean Club and the Black Organization of Students will be cooking food to honor Black History Month. Interested students are encouraged to RSVP, though Wasielewski explained that the dinners often yield extra food, so stopping by is also an option. To stay current about the events hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Wasielewski suggests visiting their page on the Lawrence website or their Diversity Center Blog, accessible from the Lawrence website or the OMA Facebook page.