I’ve never had the good fortune to meet Walter Kimbrough in person. I know people who have and they say he is engaging. Maybe someday he will be the speaker at a conference I attend. If you are wondering who Walter Kimbrough is, he is the president of Dillard University in New Orleans. He’s active on Twitter as @HipHopPrez and his commentaries in higher education publications are legendary. He’s a scholar, no doubt. Yet, higher education scholars are plentiful. There’s more to Dr. Walter Kimbrough.
What really impresses me about Dr. Kimbrough is his authenticity. His twitter handle isn’t some stuffy sophisticated name; rather, he is the ‘Hip Hop Prez’. Not even Dr. Hip Hop President. He tweets about all subjects. One tweet might be about Dillard academic achievements, another might be about Dillard athletics followed by a comment about the current social environment. He is candid with his 140 characters, and if there is a backlash, it hasn’t slowed his social media presence. As I said, I’ve never met him, but his public persona is one of accountability and generosity.
His authenticity encourages me. He shows you who he is. I’ve been told his persona is the same no matter what audience he addresses. He expresses his opinions even when they may not be a popular message, and he seems to maximize himself in whatever situation. In short, he is comfortable in his skin. He embraces the concepts of true community found in Margaret Wheatley’s Turning To One Another. “Only with honest dialogue, listening for understanding, will we solve society’s issues.”
I want to be like Dr. Kimbrough. I want others to say, ‘ Jane enjoys life, and she is who she is: the good and the bad. She’s well intended if not clumsy at times. She has heart.’ You see, I think Walter Kimbrough has heart.
You can learn more about Walter Kimbrough by following him on Twitter @HipHopPrez or reading his blog http://hiphopprez.blogspot.com/