Nas appeared on PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. to discuss his family’s past in an episode that aired on the network today (October 28).
PBS.org shared a clip in which Nas reads the Bill of Sale for his relative Pocahontas.
“They paid $830 for my great, great, great, grandma?” Nas says to host Henry Louis Gates. “I got more than that in my pocket right now.”
Nas’ three-times great grandmother Pocahontas was 15 years old when she was sold to Benjamin Franklin Little.
“We are starting to put faces to names here,” Nas says while looking through a photo book of Little’s plantation. “This is the face my ancestors looked at everyday. Now I’m looking into their world, now I can see where they walked, what they saw. ”
Nas released the album Untitled in 2008 that included a visual nod to the history of slavery as the cover, as it featured him with the type of lashes typically associated with the beatings American slaves endured.
Henry Louis Gates is a professor at Harvard and the host of several PBS documentary series. Gates was arrested in 2009 in an incident of racial profiling at his residence. The incident drew the attention of President Obama.
While discussing Nas’ Hip Hop fellowship at Harvard, Henry Louis Gates gave his opinion on Hip Hop’s significance.
“I would think the takeaways from … Hip Hop would be the values of and the possibilities for entrepreneurship,” Gates said in a video that was published in January. “I don’t think there’s been a period, a cultural movement, or an art form that so specifically nurtures and encourages people that are economically disenfranchised. The extension of the American Dream through economic freedom, ambition, individual will, through the model of Hip Hop, is certainly something that I hope will be stressed in its most positive way.”
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