Rapper Chuck D is this year's winner of the Woody Guthrie Prize, an award that recognizes artists who speak out for the less fortunate.
The Roosevelt native, 59, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008, both as part of the groundbreaking hip-hop group Public Enemy. He'll be honored at a ceremony in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Nov. 16.
Woody Guthrie Center Director Deana McCloud noted that Guthrie was "a fighter for the people." She said Chuck's D's work has aligned with that message to "choose a side, fight the power, and work for a better world."
Chuck D is the sixth recipient of the prize named for the Oklahoma native.
The hip-hop icon was born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Queens and raised in Roosevelt. After graduating from high school there, he studied graphic design at Adelphi University in Garden City. DJing at the college's radio station at the time, WBAU, he got to know Public Enemy's future co-founders, including William Drayton aka Flavor Flav, and Norman Rodgers, aka Terminator X. He also met Bill Stephney, eventually the music executive who would sign the group to Def Jam, and Hank Shocklee, their future producer.
Public Enemy helped usher in politically conscious rap through such albums as "Yo! Bum Rush the Show" (1987), "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" (1988) and "Fear of a Black Planet" (1990). Garnering great critical acclaim, those works continue to appear on hip-hop best-of lists.
Past recipients of the award include John Mellencamp, Norman Lear, Kris Kristofferson, Mavis Staples and Pete Seeger.
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