As we evolve with social media, academics are getting more creative. From music video school board campaigns to graduation cap decorating, students are having fun with their studies!
One particular Harvard senior, Obasi R. Shaw, has actually made history by becoming the first student at the Ivy League school to have submitted a rap album for his senior thesis in the English department, per Billboard.
And that's not all! He excelled at it, too. The class of 2017 student's thesis earned a solid A- which guarantees that Shaw will be earning an honors degree! According to the Harvard Crimson, his thesis -- which pulls from The Canterbury Tales and other highly-regarded literature -- is a moody take on being black in the United States — and meant to illuminate how modern race issues are connected to the past. So, not only is homeboy creatively talented; he's woke, too! He quotes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech in a track entitled "Understand." Additionally, he references the Black Lives Matter movement, slavery, segregation and former president Barack Obama.
"I feel like we compartmentalize our understanding of race relations in America into five distinct categories," Obasi told the Crimson. "There’s slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, civil rights, and now. And I think that because we make these sharp categorical distinctions, it’s hard for us to see how . . . violence now is influenced by housing policies in the '60s, and how different times intersect and how nothing's really distinct."
"Rap is a historically black form of art, and if I want to tell a story of black people, the most appropriate art form is to use their art form — to use our art form," he continued. "I feel like a rap project kind of conveys the black culture more than a set of poetry would or even, like, a movie . . . This is one of the very few forms of art that black people can claim as their own."
Shaw's overall wish is that his works convey a meaningful message. "When I speak about somebody's life, I can only talk about a few key moments and try to paint a broader picture from that," he noted. "I have to try to balance getting as much exposition into those few words as possible while also trying to tell a very interesting and engaging story.”
Thesis too lit!