Nas has partnered with Google Arts & Culture for a special Black History Month video that highlights iconic black musicians and storytellers.
WATCH: Nas Perform ‘Illmatic’ Backed By The National Symphony Orchestra
The minute-long video features Nas reading a part of an open letter he wrote for the clip, titled “We Continue To Rise.”
“I was raised to understand that every month was Black History Month,” he says as images of Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone are shown. “That every day, my ancestors, contemporaries and everyday dreamers like myself can, shall, and continue to make history.”
Other images are shown, including pictures of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, as well as a photograph acclaimed black photographer Gordon Parks took.
“Our music has been a relentless advocate for our story, which plays a crucial role in the American narrative: Red, white and blues, baby…We are here,” Nas writes in his open letter. “From the beginning. For forever. From science labs to spaceships, from jazz riffs to higher consciousness, we continue to rise.”
“We Continue To Rise” can be read in its entirety here.
PBS recently released its hour-long film on Nas’ 2014 Kennedy Center performance with the National Symphony Orchestra.
“I hope you can look through the dream with me and see the journey I took to be on the stage with an orchestra,” Nas said in a trailer for the special. “I knew it was bigger than what was just on the record. And it was like ‘This is what it’s about.'”
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