In 1993 Sister Souljah (born Lisa Williamson), a Bronx-born rapper, earned national notoriety thanks ironically to then Presidential candidate Bill Clinton who denounced her comments about the 1992 Los Angeles Riots as “hate driven and racist.” Sister Souljah responded with her own criticism of the economic and political system that kept millions of blacks and other people of color in what she saw as permanent bondage. She outlines her views in a speech given at Cheyney State University in Pennsylvania in 1994.
I REALIZE THAT most of you have become acquainted with me through a 30- second sound bite, or a 3-second sound bite on the news, and there have been a lot of confusing things that have been said. And so what I am hoping will happen this evening is that we will have an opportunity to dialogue with one another, so that I can hear some of the questions that are on your mind, and I can answer them as responsibly as possible.
Whenever I speak at a University the first thing that I try to clarify is who I am, because I cannot allow the American media to define you to me, or me to you. I am Sister Souljah, and that is spelled S-O-U-L-J-A-H. Soul meaning the essence of all things, and Jah, meaning God. Sister Souljah meaning a spiritual warrior for that which is right and correct for our people.
I was born in the Bronx, in New York City, and have been involved in a lot of the government programs that were produced for African people in this country, whether it was the welfare system, the section 8 housing system, the free lunch, free cheese, free breakfast, forced bussing, all of the programs that came out of the so-called great society which emerged in the late- 60S early 70s.And the reason why I say that is because a lot of brothers and sisters have emerged from families that have been trapped in the welfare system, or in the cycle of poverty, but we have a habit of, when we get to college we try to front like we dont know anything about that stuff. So, when I say that I was a part of the welfare