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Multi-platinum rapper Nas, known for his unique lyrical delivery and socially conscious message, is being honored in the world of academia.
Harvard University, in partnership with The Hip-Hop Archive and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, establish the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, in the artist’s full name. Members of the Harvard University faculty will make up the selection committee.
In a press release announcing the scholarship, Nas said he feels fortunate to have achieved so much through art throughout his life. “My hopes are that greed for knowledge, art, self-determination and expression go a long way. … It is a true honor to have my name attached to so much hard work, alongside great names like Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois and to such a prestigious and historical institution, and all in the name of the music I grew to be a part of.”
The Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute — established in 2002 by its director Marcyliena Morgan, a Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard — focuses on all multimedia forms of hip-hop, including recordings, videos, film, papers and publications. The archive mission states its commitment to support innovative hip-hop scholarship that reflects the achievement of its performance and transforms everyday thought and cultural consumption.
“With the introduction of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, we will continue to be the leading resource for those interested in knowing, developing, building, maintaining and representing hip-hop,” Morgan said.
The archive found its permanent home at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of African and African American Research — named after Du Bois, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard — at the university in 2008. The Institute, established in 1975, was created to “facilitate the writing of doctoral dissertations in areas related to Afro-American Studies,” according to its website. The institute offers lecture series, art exhibitions, conferences and archival documents, among other projects.
Added Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research: “Nas is a true visionary, and he consistently shows how boundaries can be pushed and expanded to further the cause of education and knowledge.”
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