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Nas Inspires Harvard University Fellowship

Mike Coppola, Getty Images

“My people be projects or jail never Harvard or Yale,” Nas once rapped in ‘Book of Rhymes,’ off his sixth studio album, ‘God’s Son.’ Now, the rapper is being honored with his own fellowship at Harvard University.

Today, Harvard announced the creation of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship, which celebrates the achievements of people who demonstrate “productive scholarship and exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with hip-hop.”

Nas spoke about the special honor. “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,” he states. “But I am immensely over-the-top excited about the Nasir Jones HIP-HOP Fellowship at Harvard. From Queens, N.Y., to true cultural academia. My hopes are that greed for knowledge, art, self-determination and expression go a long way.”

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, which was behind the fellowship, explains why the rap star was selected. “Nas is a true visionary, and he consistently shows how boundaries can be pushed and expanded to further the cause of education and knowledge,” he shares. “The work of the Du Bois Institute is enriched by the addition of the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship.”

The fellowship honors both Nas’ work and the work of others. Fellows are chosen by a selection committee comprising members of the Harvard University faculty.

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