Kendrick Lamar receives Key to City of Compton
Mayor Brown presented Lamar with a huge plaque in front of his mom and dad who were onstage, and before a throng of fans.
Throngs of fans join Mayor Brown and City officials for the Saturday morning event at City Hall honoring Kendrick Lamar
By JOSE JARAMILLO, Contributing Writer
Now the native son has been presented with the key to the City of Compton, that honor coming Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, when Mayor Aja Brown and the City Council handed the 28-year-old entertainer the key in front of the Martin Luther King Monument at City Hall.
Before presenting the artist with the ceremonial honor, Brown said, “Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation, his message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society’s institutions.”
Mayor Brown presented Lamar with a huge plaque in front of his mom and dad who were onstage, and before a throng of fans. In his acceptance speech, he displayed the same dignity and humility he has with every other honor.
“As long as I’m doing music; as long as I’m using my platform for something; I will always — since day one — scream Compton and make sure I come back to this community,” Lamar said. “Through all of the hardship, losing family members, losing homeboys for some reason we always still loved Compton because we always had faith.
“So before I even wrote we gonna be alright, that’s what we’ve been singing since day one. Please, believe me, it will not stop. This is just a spark of everything,” he added.
Born in Compton, Lamar was a straight-A student at Centennial High School. He received a total of seven nominations at the 2014 Grammy Awards. In 2015, he won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for his song “I.” This year Lamar is up for an astounding 11 awards, including Album of the Year for “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Best Rap Performance for “Alright.”
Lamar has been variously described as one of hip-hop’s greatest storytellers due to his ability to “effectively communicate even the most subtle allegory about life in Compton with reserved dignity and vulnerability.”
The Compton native has dedicated himself to giving back to Compton by developing and expanding its arts programs for youth.
“I feel like it’s only right that I [can] champion them, let them know I’ll always be behind them. Let them know I know the sacrifices and the struggles they go through, and give them some type of inspiration,” he said.
Councilwoman Janna Zurita who spoke before Lamar accepted his honor said, “Kendrick Lamar is one of Compton’s greatest ambassadors. We in Compton are proud of him because he is a symbol of what our city really is—a place where dreams can come true.”