This past academic semester some amazing students from the University of Missouri’s TRIO program were challenged to write blog pieces that relate pop culture and student development and leadership. We will be featuring the winners, selected by our Trill or Not Trill staff.

Last year during one of the 2017 BET Hip Hop Award’s cyphers, Eminem performed a freestyle called “The Storm” pertaining to the actions of Donald Trump. “The Storm” left people shocked across the world. In his freestyle, Eminem mentioned topics such as the current racial tensions across the country, aggression towards with other countries, Trump’s twitter fingers, and Trump’s attacks against professional athletes.

Eminem’s freestyle “The Storm” caught the eyes of millions of people. Eminem used his hip-hop platform and leadership as a form of protest Donald Trump. We can all look at this situation as an example of a someone that used his stature and influence to address issues to bring change. It also shows that you don’t have to be a full-time activist or someone who went to college to be an activist. You can choose to stand up for any cause with any level of education because a leader and an activist are not careers, it’s more of the love or passion to make the world a better place and bring a positive change.

In 2015 at the University of Missouri- Columbia, there was racial tension that escalated throughout campus. The discrimination continued until the university’s football team got involved and protested the university’s president Tim Wolfe. The University of Missouri Football team took a powerful stance on the issue. The players used their football platform to protest discrimination and other social issues. This is a great example of using your platform.

These are some lyrics I believed were the most crucial in Eminem’s “The Storm”

“All these horrible tragedies and he’s bored and would rather, cause a Twitter storm with the Packers”

Ignoring important issues and instead, attacking the NFL is a bad way to use your platform for change. Rather seeing news about how the United States is dealing with the tensions with North Korea, we see news about the tweets Trump sent out targeting NBA players. These events involving the U.S are all being overlooked by unimportant topics. When using your leadership platform for change don’t push important issues to the side to worry about the number of tweets you need to send out a day, instead focus on how you can make the world and the people living in it a better place.

“Racism’s the only thing he’s fantastic for”

Being discriminatory and racist are not ways to exercise your leadership platform for change. Not only does racism and discrimination not contribute to positive change, it also is wrong and causes a lot of people to feel inferior and upset. If you feel that being a racist leader who wants positive change will work, then you’re wrong.

“He’s gonna get rid of all immigrants! He’s gonna build that thing up taller than this!”

In this lyric, Eminem is referring to Trump’s interest in sending all immigrants back to their country and building a wall. This is outrageous and not a way to use your leadership platform to bring change. If the United States would follow through with this idea, tensions would raise in America and between other countries. For example, in college, there might be people that argue that certain students don’t attribute to the college in any way and are a misrepresentation of what the college is. The president of the college would agree and make the decision to kick those certain students out and says from that point only a certain race and gender are able to attend there. The students that were kicked out later protested and challenged the President’s judgment. This is a good example of a bad way to use your leadership platform. It’s injustice and will earn you complaints quick.

The reason many of the issues are going on in the world today is that no one has spoken up or done something about it. We need more leaders from across multiple platforms to stand up. In college their might, be issues that arouse such as discrimination, all around campus. No matter your race, gender, ethnicity, sex, or social class, everyone has a voice that can be used to cause change.

Deandre Taylor, University of Missouri