Comic D.L. Hughley Visits MTSU to Honor Black History Month Celebrations


Story by Elise Sandlin | Contributing Writer

Photos by Bill Lickman | Photographer for Sidelines

Comedian D.L. Hughley visited Middle Tennessee State University campus in honor of Black History Month. The State Farm Lecture Hall in the Business and Aerospace Building was filled with excited students, faculty, and other attendees anxiously awaiting the “King of Comedy.”  

Hughley, who won the Peabody Award for his comedy special “The Endangered List: If Black Men Were Considered an Endangered Species,” is also a radio-host, author, husband, and father to three children.

After being expelled from high school because of activity with gang life as a teen, Hughley changed directions. He obtained his GED, and started working at The Los Angeles Times. 

In his nearly three-decade career, Hughley has produced many comedy programs, guest-starred in several TV shows, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire,” and published five books. He also produced and starred in his own TV sitcom, “The Hughleys,” based off his life, and hosts a radio show, “the D.L. Hughley Morning Show,” that has been popular since 2009. 

Hughley, well-dressed and confident, walked onto the stage in front of an eager crowd. After opening with a few jokes, he began to talk seriously about what Black history means to the United States and how important the month of February is. 

MTSU Black History Month 2022

“There is no America without us… how resilient we are, how we set the culture, how brave we are…” Hughley said. “We are human, and I think that our quest is to be seen as human… We are our answers. We have all our answers. They are in us.”

Hughley went on to say how proud he is of the Black community for how far they have come and the accomplishments they have made. “You have become the most educated, most entrepreneur group, and you do it in a way that is filled with grace and dignity… you know your grace will determine how far your family goes, how far this nation goes.”

I think if you know the history of us, the history of this month, it is all about forward motion. It is all about moving forward.

D.L. Hughley

After less than twenty minutes of talking, Hughley took questions from the crowd, which included discussions on keys to success, where comedy is headed, advice to future journalists, and finding confidence in a career, where Hughley admitted that he does “fake his confidence like everybody else” as laughs followed from the crowd.

When asked about his opinion on the Black church in America, Hughley shared that he wanted to be a preacher when he was younger, until he saw the hypocrisy in a lot of church elders that he looked up to. “When you have a group of people that tell you they love God, and they’re all about serving the poor and the meek, and they do anything but… it’s hard to reconcile with them… we need people to be spiritual beacons more. It can’t just be about when there’s something in it for them.” Hughley encouraged the crowd to do more than “only correct justice when it serves our purposes.” 

Towards the end of the questions, a young boy stood up from the crowd and could barely reach the mic as he asked what advice Hughley has for young black people this Black History Month. 

“Our history doesn’t begin in slavery,” Hughley said. “We were something before that.” The crowd cheered. “I’ve never seen a woman that doesn’t have something beautiful about her, and I’ve never met a man that doesn’t have something uniquely powerful about him,” Hughley concluded. “The problem is, they can’t recognize it.” He then thanked the crowd as cheers and clapping followed.

“It was a beautiful spotlight put on Black culture,” MTSU alumnus Deja Campbell said about the event. A 2018 graduate, Campbell grew up listenting to Hughley on his radio show and has always admired him. “The way that D.L. just put emphasis on what’s going on in society today, ways that we can improve ourselves, and just motivational stuff… I thought it was great.” 

MTSU junior Madison May enjoyed Hughley’s event and has been a part of promoting Black History Month as the Vice President of the Freshman Council. “I see that it’s been promoted a lot…” May said about celebration for the month. “but it’ll never be enough (for the Black community).”

D.L. Hughley’s visit is only the beginning of events on MTSU’s campus celebrating Black History Month. A calendar for the month found on MTSU’s website lists the upcoming plans for February, including more guest speakers, movie nights, and fashion shows.

More information on Black History at MTSU can be found here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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