Cornel West stumps for ‘Rhymefest’ for alderman
By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org January 6, 2011 7:06PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Che “Rhymefest” Smith, candidate for alderman of the 20th Ward, got a boost Thursday from Princeton University professor and intellectual provocateur Cornel West.
“I am in his corner 155 percent on a scale of 100,” said the hip-hopping, big-haired professor and social justice activist who played “Counselor West” in the Matrix movies.
West and Smith, a rap artist and aldermanic candidate, met four years ago when they worked on an album together.
“We’ve had magnificent conversations together and we’ve worked together in the studio,” said West, who said he came to Chicago to headline a series of fund-raisers for Smith.
“We’ve had magnificent conversations together and we’ve worked together in the studio,” said West, who said he came to the hometown of Curtis Mayfield to headline a series of fund-raisers for Smith and to speak, along with Smith, at a seminar on education at Kennedy-King College.
“He has been fundamentally concerned with how to serve the people — you can serve artistically, religiously, politically,” West said of Smith.
A high school drop-out who got his GED and went to college, Smith said he knows how much overhaul Chicago’s school system needs.
“You need a whole system solution to the problem — malnutrition, drug addiction, parents that can’t help children with their homework — you have to deal with all of it,” Smith said.
Smith is challenging freshman Ald. Willie Cochran, a former police sergeant. Also in the race for the South Side ward are Andre Smith, George Davis and Sidney Shelton.
West also proposed radical changes in the education system.
“Finland is No. 1 in science education, math, 91 percent of the schools are unionized, students don’t take one standardized test. How do they do it? Education is the No. 1 focus,” West said.