Was the Bard an old-school Jay Z?
Shakespeare’s theatre isn’t as far removed from modern-day hip hop as you might think. Both represent energetic and inventive forms of expression, featuring poetry, wordplay, and lyricism. Both deal with what it is like to be human, with real issues in people’s lives.
Nicole Hodges Persley, an associate professor of theatre at the University of Kansas, explores the connection between the works of Shakespeare and today’s stylized rap offerings and the wider cultural debate around language and its power. One of the founding program directors of the Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute, she focuses her research on the impact of racial, ethnic, and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television, and film.