Attorney and ICTMN editor-at-large Gyasi Ross continues to make waves in his latest persona -- a rapper and spoken word artist. His newest video, released today, find him much more in the latter category -- "Harvard" is a strongly-worded anecdote about a young person whose dreams are bigger than those of his educational steward. Manny, the student, wants to apply to Harvard University; the school administrator who's supposed to guide him discourages him from trying. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?" she asks him, one eye on her watch.
What the administrator fails to consider is that a rejection letter from an Ivy League school itself has value -- that even aspiring to go to Harvard is itself "a sign of progress."
Manny isn't exactly Gyasi, but there are undeniable similarities. Ross's six-school collegiate odyssey did end in the Ivy League, with his graduation from Columbia Law School. And like Manny, Ross was venturing into uncharted territory when he pursued his education. "My family just didn’t have a history or legacy of educational attainment," he says on his page at the Cut Bank Creek Press website, "so I wasn’t really concerned with trying to get good grades or what I was going to do after high school." In the video, Manny is trying to write that first chapter of his family's educational legacy, just as Ross did in his own life.
Here's "Harvard" -- recommended listening for all young Native students, and those who are responsible for raising and educating them: