Rapper Nas awarded Harvard’s W.E.B DuBois Medal

September 29, 2015 7:30 am

 Nas
performs his classic debut album Illmatic with the National Symphony
Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Photo / Getty.

Rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones, former boxing champion Muhammad Ali and U.S
Attorney General Eric Holder have been award Harvard’s W.E.B DuBois
Medal this year.
Muhammed Ali, battling Parkinson’s disease, will
appear at the ceremony via video link. Along with being a legendary
boxer, Ali was a firm activist for black rights and an advocate for the
Muslim faith.
Nas shot to fame in 1994 with his debut album
“Illmatic”. Primarily reflective of growing up in the Queens area, the
album was peppered with subtle insults to other boroughs of New York.
Described as a “hip-hop masterpiece,” Nas’ lyrical talent and stage
presence grabbed the attention of critics and his fan-base grew rapidly
into the millions.
Nas brought his “Illmatic” 20th Anniversary
tour to New Zealand last year. Along with his tour, the film “Time is
Illmatic,” was released to mark the anniversary. The documentary
followed the career trajectory of Nas through poverty and adversity in
his Queens neighborhood.

The W.E.B DuBois award honours those who have contributed to
African and African-American culture, identity, and intercultural
understanding.
Established in 2000, the medal has been awarded to
Steven Spielberg, Toni Morrison and Quincy Jones. Last year’s medalists
included film maker Steve McQueen and Oprah Winfrey.
W.E.B
DuBois was a prominent civil rights activist, author and historian. He
was one of the founding members of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910 and led the movement to
ban the racist film The Birth of a Nation in 1915.

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