By Stacey Dricks
Grandmaster Flash graced the stage in front of nearly 10,000 cheering crowds, but not on the turntables. On Thursday, June 1, he will speak as Joseph Sadler addresses more than 3,000 alumni at Lehman College’s 55th Commencement to mark 50 years of hip-hop in the Bronx. stood there.
“The graduation ceremony is a special academic ceremony that puts the point of explanation in the sentence ‘I went to college and succeeded,'” said Fernando Delgado, president of Lehman College. “Success is never guaranteed. Some of us probably have to travel a little farther to get there than others. If we’re sitting down, we’re all successful, regardless of how we got here.”
It was a long road from Grandmaster Flash’s honorary degree to Lehman.
“I come from a project at 2730 Dewey Avenue in Slogs Neck,” said the hip-hop pioneer.
In his keynote speech, Sadler made it clear that he would credit the Bronx for his success and contribution to the genre’s culture. And now, he’s been honored alongside former Congressman Jose Rivera, who has represented parts of the Bronx for more than two decades.
Lehman awarded them both with honorary degrees.
Rivera received his doctorate in humanitarian letters, while Grandmaster Flash received an honorary doctorate in music.
This was not the first such honor for Sadler. The Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee received an honorary doctorate in fine art from Buffalo State University last year.He was one of SUNY’s three notable alumni Honorary doctorates were awarded to: Journalist Darryl Dennard and Eric Greenberg, Director of United Nations Relations and Strategic Partnerships at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
However, he felt that an honorary degree from Lehman University was of the utmost importance as it is where he is from.
Growing up on projects in the early 1970s, he said they taught him love and perseverance. People will find DJs behind turntables at block parties. And in the meantime, he was spinning his own beats before hip-hop took over.
It’s unclear when hip-hop was born, but its origins lie in the summer of 1973, when Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, played a back-to-school party in America spinning music on turntables to beat the beats. is known to have created The entertainment room in his apartment at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
Sadler, also from the Bronx, often DJed at block parties. He was essentially the first DJ to physically put his fingertips on a record player and turn it into an instrument.
“DJs no longer have to drop a needle on a record and just play it. I looked at the turntable and said, ‘Let’s turn this into an instrument.’ I took the rubber off and put the wax paper and felt on and then the vinyl,” Sadler said.
He introduced a cutting-and-scratching technique known as “quick-mix theory,” which attracted breakdancers who were “the stars of the time,” DJ said. The theory was an infinite loop where he would play two records on two different turntables that he could operate.
“When the platter was spinning clockwise, I could spin it counterclockwise and stay in the specific area the rapper was talking about,” Sadler said.
In 1975, a fan walked up to him at a party honoring him. “Flash, you treat your turntable like a grandmaster.”
Next, he looked up the definition of grandmaster. And a prominent figure at that time was, among other things, martial arts grandmaster Bruce Lee. Already known as “Flash”, Grandmaster Flash was born.
“We’re from the Bronx,” Sadler said. “We are beginners. We are finishers. We are very, very important.
“Young people, when you go out into the world, you will probably do what I did. You will make mistakes.”
He went on to describe the many mistakes he made in his life leading up to his “quickmix theory”. “You’ll scrape your knees when you leave here,” he declared. But as Bronx people, he said, “We try hard.”
Lehman was a valuable lesson
Alisha Ali, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, was the student speaker at the graduation ceremony. A distinguished presidential scholar, Ali was an honor student at Sai Chi and was active in the student union.
This high-achieving student isn’t from the Bronx, but a first-generation college graduate who was born and raised in a small village in Guyana.
Like many Lehman students, at the age of 14, her family left everything behind and moved to the United States to pursue what they called the American Dream. Her parents worked almost non-stop to make their children’s dreams come true.
“I’m happy to see my growth here at Lehman,” she said. “It taught me a valuable life lesson: resilience.
“that is, Never give up on your dreams no matter how difficult the road may be. “
But Alice’s journey to college isn’t over yet. Now that she has graduated, she still wants to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Lehman’s reputation is known for serving the Hispanic service community. We provide a diverse and high quality education.
In this year’s Degree Choice, it ranked third among the best colleges in the Northeast, ahead of Princeton University, Harvard University, and Columbia University. Also ranked 3rd It is on our list of Best Colleges in New York.
Both rankings are based on economic return on investment and the length of time it takes students to repay their education.
Meanwhile, last year’s Degree Choice ranked Lehman University as the number one best Hispanic institution in the nation and number two as the best college in New York. It was also ranked #1 for best psychology and nursing programs.
We also offer advanced music certificates with a PhD in Musical Arts, a Medal in Musical Arts Education, and a PhD in Philosophy.
For Sadler, he noted, music is a never-ending cycle.
“Before COVID-19, I traveled to 150 countries over 18 years,” he said. “I’ve seen this[music students he seems to have influenced]from here to Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia and Japan.”
“Every day I wake up and pinch myself and it’s still exploding and still happening,” he stressed heavily to the Riverdale Press. “I’m living in the moment, and today was another great moment.”