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The two decade (plus) career of multi-platinum Def Jam Recordings artist Nas is at the heart of a joint announcement by the Hip-Hop Archive and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, to establish the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship. The Fellowship will provide selected scholars and artists with an opportunity to show that “education is real power,” as it builds upon the achievements of those who demonstrate exceptional capacity for productive scholarship and exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with hip-hop.

The mission of the Hip-Hop Archive is threefold: to seek projects from scholars and artists that build on the rich and complex hip-hop tradition; to respect that tradition through historically grounded and contextualized critical insights; and most importantly, to represent one’s creative and/or intellectually rigorous contribution to hip-hop and the discourse through personal and academic projects. Personal projects of fellows may include manuscript projects, performance pieces, album work, curriculum planning, primary archival research, and exhibition preparation, among others.

“Having welcomed various artists and scholars, the Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute is uncompromising in our commitment to build and support intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that reflects the rigor and achievement of hip-hop performance,” said Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and founder and director of the Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute. “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.”

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, added, “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.”

Nasir Jones, or Nas, critically acclaimed for his lyrical skill, social analysis and commitment, has helped usher in an original form of hip-hop debate and analysis that reflects on and represents urban youth angst and conflict as well as intelligence, confidence and ambition. A quintessentially honest artist, Nas has taken great risks in exposing his deepest vulnerabilities while still staying relevant to a wide audience. He has tackled both intense political issues and hardcore street topics. In doing so, he has inspired a generation. This Fellowship honors his work while supporting the work of others. Fellows are chosen by a selection committee comprising members of the Harvard University faculty.

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