Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy

Russell Lecture on Spiritual Life: Dee-1

Distler Performance Hall (Granoff Music Center)


The Russell Lecture on Spiritual Life is the oldest endowed lectureship at Tufts and offers a spiritual perspective on this historical moment. This year, join us for a unique and energizing lecture with keynote speaker and Tisch College's Artist/Scholar-in-Residence, Dee-1. An educator, activist, renowned Hip Hop artist and spiritual leader, Dee-1 will offer his gifts and insight to the Tufts community.

This event is hosted by the University Chaplaincy with support from Tisch College’s Solomont Speaker Series. It is open to the community and ASL interpretation will be provided. 

Dee-1 began rapping and performing publicly while in college at Louisiana State University. After graduating from LSU in 2008, he taught middle school math in Baton Rouge. After two years of teaching, he pivoted to focus exclusively on his music career. In 2010, Dee-1 was named Artist of the Year at the NOLA Underground Hip Hop Awards.  In 2016, he released "Sallie Mae Back", a hyper-energetic track celebrating the completion of his student loan payoffs. He used a part of his label signing advance to pay off the loans. The song received critical acclaim from CNN, ESPN, Forbes and Time magazine. The Washington Post called it the "anthem of a generation." Dee-1 is the recipient of the 2020 NAACP “Power of Influence Award,” highlighting his activism and commitment to inspiring youth. In 2021, he became the first rapper in history to be appointed to a statewide position by a governor, John Bell Edwards of Louisiana, joining the Louisiana Council for the “Success of Black Men and Boys.” He was also nominated for an Emmy Award in 2021 for hosting “The Manhattan Project”.  His recent album, “Finding Balance” (2022) debuted at No. 4 in the world on the Apple Music/iTunes Hip-Hop Charts. In 2023, he was appointed the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at Harvard University.

If you are looking for another opportunity to engage with Dee-1, please consider joining Tufts students, staff, and faculty for a workshop with Dee-1 the same week on Friday, March 8 from 12 - 1 p.m. in the Rabb Room of Barnum Hall. You can submit your interest for the workshop by clicking the above register button.