Carlton Douglas Ridenhour (Chuck D) was born in Long Island and grew up with both parents being political activists. Whilst at school, Carlton was interested in hip-hop music so he became involved in making flyers and co-hosting on the school radio station. It is by doing this that he met Bill Stephney and Hank Shocklee who he created Public Enemy with.
Public Enemy broadened the hip hop genre to white audiences as it was previously seen as a black music genre. Chuck used his new audience to become a spokesperson for the black community writing lyrics such as "Some ask us why we act the way we act without lookin' how long they kept us back" in 'Righstarter (Message To A Black Man)'.
Chuck D said in the past that "Rap is black America's TV station" however he seems to change his mind later on in his life as he says in an interview that "rap music is the world wide religion of people 25 and under, and we have to watch the King James version" This shows his view that rap music can be for both black and white audiences but people only see what the internet and the TV allows them to see. Their views on rap music are decided by the media.
Chuck D is currently touring with Public Enemy around the world and he still continues to speak up for black Americans and how they are treated. I think that Chuck D is a great example of a successful African American who isn't afraid to stand up for his race and try to improve stereotypes that black people are given.
Journal Article: Thorpe David and D Chuck, "Chuck D" BOMB, no. 68 (1999): 41.