What do you get when you put a hip hop legend and open minded students in the same venue? A critical-philosophical way of thinking, combined with a interesting series of events throughout the night.
Downtown Pomona has become a hub where art and conversation come together to inform and educate those who are willing to listen. That is precisely where the students of Philosophy 499 hosted their long-awaited event “Cut the Bias” at the Fox Theater in Pomona, Thursday night.
The heavily publicized event promised to tackle sensitive topics like prejudice and biases in today’s world through conversation and music.
The crowd was on the edge of their seats and on the tip of their toes when, activist and, rapper KRS-One finally took the stage.
“Race is a social construct for the division of people,” said KRS-One. “Once the white population leaves the United States you will have no biases.”
His towering presence and deep voice demanded everyone’s attention.
During his talk an unnamed man began yelling from the crowd in disagreement with what was being spoken.
What originally had been a talk that had been scheduled to be 15-minutes long, turned into over 40-minutes.
Instead of ignoring the individual, KRS-One invited the man on-stage, hugged him and allowed him to speak to the audience.
“The only way we can cut the bias is by having a conversation,” said KRS-One to the audience as the man, who was white, proclaimed he was not racist.
Although some may have not agreed with KRS-One’s sentiment, he undoubtedly became the focal point of the event.
What followed was a concert line up for all musical tastes.
KRS-One closed the event well after midnight with some final words about ending biases and songs from his latest album The World Is Mind.
The Blind Vision, a psychedelic indie-rock jazz band kicked off the music.
The staff began to remove all chairs for the VIP section and allowed anyone in attendance to come toward the front of the stage for an authentic concert experience.
Once the crowd had been warmed up another band was ready to hit the stage.
Porcelain Hill, self-described as an old school rock with a new school roll band, was ready to spread their message of positivity and acceptance.
“Through our travels on the road we’ve learned that no matter what happens you can always find some common ground to come together on,” said Big D, guitarist and lead vocalist.
At the end of the band’s set, the artists that followed were all hip-hop based.
Artists such as Pure Money, Divine Intervention and Vivid Life all performed their set before the man many had been waiting for finally took the stage to perform.
“I didn’t know what to expect from this event but I definitely learned some things I can do to make a difference and not be so biased,” said Alyson Bosse, a fourth-year hospitality management student.
Long before the theater doors were set to open, a line filled with eager students snaked down the sidewalk in anticipation for the night’s offerings.
“I have so much energy in me, there is still so much to get done here, but I’m really excited for tonight,” said Hailey Arzaga, a third-year psychology student and fundraising chair.
Before the attendees were let in, the bands and the rest of the performers sound checked one final time and headed to their dressing rooms waiting for the event to finally start.
The audience was filled with over 300 CPP faculty and students, as well as supporters of the musicians and speakers.
Speakers included Professor Alex Madva of the Philosophy 499 class and actor Johnny Ortiz from the Disney film McFarland USA.
All proceeds made from event went toward the Multicultural Center’s Scholarship Fund, helping minority students.
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