You can do anything!
That's the message of Akala's first kids' book, Hip and Hop: You Can Do Anything, opens a new window. It's a rhyming story about a hippo and a bird who want to support their friends and learn a new skill. It's a great book to read aloud and rap along to, and that's no surprise when you think that the author is none other than Akala - award-winning hip hop artist and writer ... and co-founder of The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, opens a new window (THSC).
Yup, that's right - there is a group of people who have got together to find ways that hip-hop artists of today are the same as that great writer, William Shakespeare. To see how the rap and music of the 2010s parallels the writing and sonnets of an English man who's just had his 455th birthday, opens a new window! Started ten years ago in 2019, THSC is supported by Gandalf (sorry, Sir Ian McKellen), and has worked with artists including Ed Sheeran and Ms Dynamite to demystify Shakespeare's plays, promote and showcase new up-and-coming hip-hop artists, and hold workshops for teens, young people, and anyone else who's interested in the language and rhythms of the Bard's writing. I don't know about you, but I reckon that's a pretty cool thing for them to do.
I'll admit - I'm a geek. Language makes me happy, and when I went to see Hamlet: The Video Game (The Stage Show), opens a new window at the Court Theatre a couple of years ago, and then to hear Ben Crystal, opens a new window at the Isaac Theatre Royal performing Shakespeare in its original pronunciation, I was in Shakespeare heaven. These were really cool ways to hear the Bard's works made relevant in the 21st century, opens a new window, and now WORD Christchurch, opens a new window is about to give me (and you!) another chance to embrace your inner language nerd.
Akala: Hip-Hop & Shakespeare will see Akala present one of his workshops linking language, hip-hop, important social issues, and the music of 2019 with Shakespeare. It will be an interactive experience, and if you've ever tried to get your head around what those plays are actually about,, opens a new window this is your chance. We already know that Shakespeare and rap/hip-hop do go together (Baz Luhrmann's 1996 masterpiece film Romeo and Juliet, anyone?), so come along and find out exactly why they work. The event is billed as 'particularly good for students', so if you're studying any Shakespeare this year, come along. I can't promise it will definitely help you with your next class assignment ... but it might, so what have you got to lose?
Akala: Hip-Hop & Shakespeare will run from 2pm to 3pm at Papa Hou (City YMCA at 12 Hereford Street) on Sunday 12 May.
Want more? The library has heaps of books, DVDs, and other resources, opens a new window to get your Shakespeare fix.
Akala: Hip-hop and Shakespeare - Sunday 12 May 2pm to 3pm
Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, social entrepreneur and best-selling author, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company. In this interactive session, which includes spoken word and a student ‘call and response’, Akala explores the social, cultural and linguistic parallels between the works of William Shakespeare and contemporary Hip-Hop. The talk aims to encourage young people to develop an alternate view of the arts and, ultimately themselves by showing how the culture and language of Hip Hop and Shakespeare have the power to transgress race, class and the iambic pentameter.