Kentucky State University students learned about the institution’s heritage and heard an inspiring message from legendary rapper, social justice advocate and humanitarian MC Lyte during the 2018 Heritage Assembly recently.

“Speak what you seek until you see what you say,” MC Lyte said regarding dreaming big and preparing to accomplish those dreams.

MC Lyte recounted stories of growing up as a teacher’s daughter. Her mother would make her write essays on any and everything. If she wanted to go to the movies, she had to write an essay. If she wanted to go play with her friends, she had to write an essay. If she wanted to leave the house to listen to hip-hop, the genre she would one day shape, she had to write an essay.

It was preparation for her purpose, she said. It’s one of the things that prepared her for her opportunity to sign with a record label.

“Words have power,” MC Lyte said. “We have the free will to say or think what we please so we must control our words.”

She also encouraged the audience to stand for something. Her first cause was speaking out against drugs, she said. One of her many causes now, she said, is providing scholarships to young men to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Her foundation, Hip Hop Sisters, has awarded $850,000 in scholarships to young men.

The 2018 Heritage Awards were also presented.

Dr. Lee Charles Harris received the Academic Heritage Award. A Kentucky State alumna, Dr. Harris returned to the University in 1965 to further develop the nursing program. Through her work, Dr. Harris added a clinical experience component to better prepare program graduates and more create competitive practitioners within the healthcare arena.

Community Missionary Baptist Church received the Access Heritage Award. Since 2004, Community Missionary Baptist Church has made monthly contributions to Kentucky State University to further advance access for students wishing to obtain a college education. The church fair exceeded their past commitment to give $50,000 to the University.

The late Dr. Harold R. Benson received the Agricultural Heritage Award. Dr. Benson served Kentucky State University for 36 years, the longest-tenured land grant administrator at the University. Under his leadership, the land-grant was resurrected after a time of inactivity; the aquaculture research program was created; the University’s 300-acre research and demonstration farm was established; the historic Atwood building was renovated into the Atwood Research Facility and the Cooperative Extension Building was designed and built.

Roderick J. Lewis received the Athletic Heritage Award. Lewis was a heavily decorated baseball player at Kentucky State and was inducted into the 2005 Kentucky State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Lewis played professional baseball for nine seasons in Australia and holds numerous awards. He later found success in business management, consulting and community and economic development. His work within the United States and abroad positioned him for his current role as president and CEO of Sports-Prep Nothing But Athletes.

The 2018 Heritage Assembly also included performances by the Kentucky State University Concert Choir and Gospel Ensemble.