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Columbia Spectator Staff

Rapper and actor Ice-T shared pearls of wisdom about education and officially coined the phrase "keeping it autho [authentic]" as a speaker at this weekend's Pop Culture in the Classroom, a conference at Teachers College.

The two-day Pop Culture in the Classroom event was broken down into three sessions about integrating pop culture into the classroom. The event was cosponsored by, a Web site devoted to integrating popular culture into school curricula, Students for a Cultural Studies Initiative, Progressive Arts Alliance, and the Film and Education Research Academy.

"The goal of this conference is to demystify pop culture in the classroom and harness its essence ... to make classrooms pop," Ryan Goble, TC student and an event organizer, said.

During his speech, Ice-T explained that after his parents died, he moved from suburban New Jersey to his aunt's house in Los Angeles. Ice-T said that during high school, he "really got connected to the LA streets. You ain't really out in the streets running and hustling, doing things, you're just a kid," defining the essence of gangsta rap as "waiting for kids to get out of school so we could rob them."

Ice-T said rapping is about expressing true experiences, whether they include robbing banks or saving whales. "Is it always positive? No," he said.

According to "T," performing gangster rap in predominantly white neighborhoods helps to ameliorate racism. "You just like injecting this shit into them," he said. "The fear is white kids liking black people. If they like us, it'll change the status quo."

Ice-T said it is important for teachers to be "hip" so students can look up to them. If teachers were making more money, Ice-T said, they would be more attractive to their students.

"Y'all [teachers] should be making triple what you make," he said. "The kids could see this [material stuff] is something they want. 'I see a drug dealer on the corner with a nice car and that's what I want to be'," he said.

Ice-T's students from the VH1 reality TV show Ice-T's Rap School-a show about teaching private school students how to rap- went on stage with Ice-T to hug him and tell him how positive their experiences learning from him had been.

As Ice-T left the stage, interviewer David McCullough said, "Let's get him tenure here."