HARI In-House Blog

HARI Welcomes The 2017-2018 Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellows

HARI is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellows: Martha Diaz, Kareem Jackson a.k.a. Tef Poe, and James Braxton Peterson. 

Martha Diaz

Media Producer, Social Entrepreneur, Archivist, Curator, and Educator
Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow: Fall 2017
Fall Colloquium: Wednesday, October 11 at 12pm

Martha Diaz is an award-winning media producer, social entrepreneur, archivist, curator, and educator. For twenty-five years, Diaz has traversed between the hip-hop entertainment industry, public sector, and academia. In 2010, Diaz formed the Hip-Hop Education Center to cultivate and formalize the field of hip-hop-based education. She has published research papers on hip-hop education and is co-editor of the Hip-Hop Education Guidebook, Vol. I (Hip-Hop Association, 2007) and Rebel Music: Resistance Through Hip-Hop and Punk (Information Age Publishing, 2015). Diaz has served as a fellow at the NYU Reynolds Program for Social Entrepreneurship, fellow at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation – National Museum of American History, resident curator/scholar at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Columbia University Community Scholar. Her latest archive/documentary project is the Untitled, Tupac Shakur Documentary, directed by Steve McQueen.

Project Description
Time Is Illmatic: The Journey, Music, and Legacy of Nasir Jones

From public housing to the Silicon Valley and Harvard University, how did Nasir Jones, better known as Nas, become the celebrated rap artist and icon he is today? The Time Is Illmatic Project will delve into Nasir’s history through small study groups that will introduce students for the first time to a digital humanities curriculum. Using media clips of the movie, never before seen interview footage from hip-hop luminaries, and other primary and secondary sources aggregated from the Internet and hip-hop archives, I will examine Nasir’s life, musical journey, and legacy to understand his family background, upbringing, influences, and most important his skills and talents. Students will explore themes such as housing projects, gun violence, trauma, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the role of music and the arts. The main goal of the pilot project is to obtain feedback from the participants to make improvements on the curriculum before it is introduced to the public. Building on the Center’s Jones collection, I will also archive the cultural material and media assets of the movie.

Kareem Jackson a.k.a. Tef Poe
Musician and Activist
Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow: Academic Year 2017-18
Fall Colloquium: Wednesday, October 25 at 12pm

Tef Poe is an American rapper, musician,  and activist. He is one of the co-founders of the Hands Up United movement. Tef has consistently advocated for grass-roots movements in racial justice within and outside the United States. In his art and activism, he insists on the value of local people taking charge of conversations about their own communities rather than relying on national organizations.

Project Description
Universe of Insanity: The Culture Shock the Black American Experience

We are now poised with an opportunity to fully confront the inequalities of this country. Black Americans worked together as a collective to protect the Obama Administration’s credibility. For the next four years, we will bear witness to a presidential administration that could care less about the energy we have invested. The cultural connections between hip hop and black resistance will never fade away. When protests and mobilizations don't work, we must learn to use music concerts as a resistance tool.

James Braxton Peterson 
Associate Professor, English, Lehigh University
Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow: Spring 2018
Spring Colloquium: TBA

James Braxton Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is the author of several books, The Hip Hop Underground and African American CulturePrison Industrial Complex for Beginners and Hip Hop Headphones: A Scholar’s Critical Playlist.  Peterson hosts “The Remix” on Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, WHYY. “The Remix” is a podcast that engages issues at the intersection of race, politics, and popular culture. Peterson has written for Newsweek.com, The Guardian, The LA Times, Reuters, and The Daily Beast and The Grio. He is a media commentator and has appeared on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and other networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture.

Project Description
Hip Hop Figures

My proposed research project, Hip Hop Figures, is a collection of interviews, new essays as well as previously published essays that continue to explore the intersections between the lyrics of rap music and various aspects of African American culture and the lived experience of Black folks in America. The sampling of James Brown’s music, the ways in which Emmett Till haunts Hip Hop culture, the significance of suicide as a form of resistance at the intersections of black literature and rap music, the odes to space/place in Hip Hop or the life and death of Biggie Smalls all become subjects for analysis in Hip Hop Figures. This work might accurately be accused of having a morbid obsession with Hip Hop culture, as so much of Hip Hop Figures attempts to make some sense of the mortal ethos that underwrites the lives of the culture’s artisans, the lyrics of their music, and at times the very production of the music itself.


Learn more about the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship here