Founder of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, Akala, inspires students at Harris Academy Peckham

Campaigner and rapper Akala inspired students to learn from the works of Shakespeare when he talked to them at a school.

Harris Academy Peckham hosted the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, poet and activist who talked about his love of the Bard and how his writing is as valid today as it was 400 years ago.

AkalaThe star gave an inspirational talk to a packed hall of students during which he discussed his childhood and upbringing, the importance of having high aspirations and working hard to achieve your goals.

London-born Akala is the founder of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company and during his visit to the academy he quizzed the students on their knowledge of the playwright’s lines and drew parallels with the lyrics of contemporary hip-hop artists.

Toni, student and budding rapper

The talented musician then performed a rap which included a number of impressively spun lyrics from Shakespeare’s famous plays.

One of the academy’s students, Toni – a budding rapper and lyricist from Year 9 – performed one of his own songs and was over-the-moon to have the opportunity to showcase his work in front of the star.

Rebecca Hickey, executive principal of Harris Academy Peckham, said: “Akala is the latest in a long list of stars to visit Harris Academy and we were absolutely delighted to welcome him.

His talk was an inspiration to all our students and I know that they took a lot away from it. Many of our students have a real talent for writing and performing and I know that this was such a treat for them.”

Toni said: “Akala was inspiring and amazing. My ambition is to be a rapper. “His Shakespeare rap was heartfelt, brilliant and original – I want to rap like him.

His message is positive, clever and so different to usual rap.”

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