Meet Donovan Livingston, a member of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He just earned his master’s degree from the hallowed Boston institution and, according to Twitter, he intends to add a doctorate in Education Leadership and Cultural Foundations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to the stack. Livingston also writes and records bars as D.LIV(E), and many of his songs are as catchy as they are poetic — so Harvard invited him to perform a few lines for his fellow graduates on Wednesday.
The nearly six-minute video of Livingston’s introduction and his spoken word poem, “Lift Off” have since gone viral, and for good reason. Not only is he a talented lyricist and performer, but his words also paint a beautiful, yet haunting portrait of the current state of education in the United States. One that, as Livingston confessed in his opening remarks, is very personal to the young educator:
“You have to forgive me. I have to take in this moment in for a little while. When I spoke at my high school graduation several years ago, my high school English teacher threatened to replace me on the program or cut my microphone when she found out that I was interested in doing a poem as part of my remarks. So I am eternally grateful for being able to share this piece of myself in my most authentic voice with you this afternoon.”
We’re glad Harvard chose to celebrate Livingston’s gifts instead of threatening to diminish them as his previous instructor did, because what he had to say in “Lift Off” is necessary and important listening material. Not just for students and teachers, but for everyday people and presidential candidates, too.