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Nas Is Inspiration Behind New Harvard Fellowship Program

Joseph Okpako, Getty Images

Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute has teamed up with the Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute to create the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, a watershed moment in the relationship between hip-hop culture and academia.

The goal behind this fellowship program is to provide students with a platform to build on hip-hop tradition and put out academic projects that critically examine the culture. The Fellowship hopes to encourage students to put together manuscripts, curriculum, performance pieces, and other items. Fellows will be selected by a committee comprised of Harvard University faculty.

The Fellowship has been named after Nas. Professor Henry Louis Gates, Director of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute, said, “Nas is a true visionary, and he consistently shows how boundaries can be pushed and expanded to further the cause of education and knowledge. The work of the Du Bois Institute is enriched by the addition of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship.”

In response to the announcement, Nas released a press statement. “In my rollercoaster of a life I’ve endured good and bad for sure, and I’ve truly been blessed to have achieved so much thru art in my short life thus far,” the Queens rapper said. “But I am immensely over-the-top excited about the Nasir Jones HIP-HOP Fellowship at Harvard. From Queens, NY to true cultural academia. 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.”

Of course, Nas will now be following this announcement up with his performance at Citi Field on the 19th for the Major League Baseball All-Star game, a monumental event.

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