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(is this title too wordy?)
Working Thesis: The modern hip-hop appropriation of Romeo and Juliet illuminates the play's salient theme of civil disobedience and reaffirms that individual expression is a weapon against institutionalized hatred.
Homie - I had a conversation with my roommate Elisha Ransom who is an avid Shakespeare lover and someone i've had copious conversations with about Henry David Thoreau in the past. After reading Romeo and Juliet and finding, myself, connections to Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" I discussed with her possible comparisons between the two texts.
Peers - I discussed themes of Romeo and Juliet with my coworker, Claire Moore. I chose to speak with her (as well as a few others) because I wanted to know what people who didn't study literature thought of Romeo and Juliet; that is, the play is so well known that you can strike up a conversation with anyone around you and they have some opinion about it. The general census was that Romeo and Juliet is about two dumb teenagers who act rashly and kill themselves over "love" because they're melodramatic. No one I spoke with (Claire and 3 others) liked the play or saw any value in it. I think the various hip-hop approprations contradict such a reading.
Enthusiast - I've contacted (via email) the South African cheographer, Jessica Nupen, who cheographed one of the productions I mentioned in my first bibliography. She created this performance called "Rebellion and Johannesburg" and its a hip-hop routine that uses R&J as the backdrop to what is essentially social actvism through dance. I reached out to her to discuss why she thought R&J was the appropriate story to use in a production that highlights civil disobedience through dance. And I'm awaiting a response from her.
However, I've also contacted a local dance instructor, Celeste Maughan, and we'll be meeting tomorrow (11/19) to discuss the general culture of hip-hop and how it plays a role in creating a dialouge of civil disobedience.
Expert: I did not get the chance to speak with Robert Means in person; however, I've emailed him to discuss finding sources in regards to civil disobedience and R&J. I'm having a difficult time finding scholarship that writes explicity about rebellion or disobedience in R&J and I thought Robert Means would be able to help me identify what and/or where I should be looking for those sources.
Akala. "Hip-Hop and Shakespeare." Ted: (2011). Ted.com. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
Akala, founder of the hip-hop shakespeare company, talks about the relationship of language between Shakespeare and hip-hop and how Shakespeare lends itself to hip-hop appropriation. This ted talk gives a broad overview of the relationship between hip-hop and shakespeare and his focus of language can be useful.
Wimberly, Ronald. The Prince of Cats. Vertigo: 2012. Graphic Novel. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.
This graphic novel highlights Tybalt and his "caputlet crew." It takes place in down-town Brooklyn and is written in iambic pentameter. It will be interesting to compare how hip-hop is used interpretively beyond my arguement of civil disobedience. (see below)