Mobo award-winning Kingslee Akala Daley is the politically charged hip hop artist spitting and speaking up for his generation’s right to a decent education.
“There can be a tendency in this country to get arrogant and to try and make Shakespeare into an intellectual God. I don’t think that’s healthy, I think it creates a certain amount of fear in young people, which discourages them from experimenting with his work because it feels blasphemous. In reality Shakespeare should be being taught as just another genius that they should be aiming to be like, whilst using his plays as a basis for understanding the human universe. They should not be leaving his work on a dusty shelf thinking it belongs to only one segment of the population.” Akala Kingslee Daley.
Akala is promoting the importance of education, as the way out for all of the individuals forced into sub-standard levels of living in the UK. Establishing the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company as a reaction to the stereotypical way hip hop lyricists are perceived by older generations, Akala made it his mission to integrate his unorthodox approach to understanding Shakespearean literature into schools. A big fan of lil Will’s writing since he first encountered his works in an English literature class at school, Akala became quickly disenchanted by the stuffy presentations of the beautiful creativity that flowed from his favourite plays, namely Macbeth and Othello. Inspired then and now by the way each captured, presented and challenged human behaviour, colonialism, racism, power and gender politics, today Akala heads up workshops demonstrating how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themes, language and rhythm used by The Bard.
i-D online caught up with the fast-chatting gentleman down at Hay Festival to find out what fuels his fire.