Amara Pope: A study of Drake

By Cailey Heinzl

Amara's hometown: Elmira, Ontario

Ever since Amara Pope started studying famous Canadian rapper Drake for her Master’s and PhD, she has been interviewed through radio, television and print by CTV, CBC, The Toronto Star, Toronto Life Magazine, Daily Hive, Vice, Kitchener Post, Flare Magazine, Waterloo Chronicle, The London Free Press, and others.

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If there was ever an expert on Canadian rapper Drake, it’s 24-year-old Amara Pope.

While completing her master’s degree in Communication Studies at Wilfred Laurier University, Pope’s research paper was published by Simon Fraser University on Drake’s ability to relate to and represent different communities through his music. Now pursuing her PhD in Media Studies at Western University, she continues to investigate how Drake and other artists perform intersectional identities within and outside of the traditional music industry.

Currently in her third year, Pope says her fascination with media and the different ways people communicate started during her undergrad at the University of Waterloo.

Her PhD research involves exploring how musical artists construct their star identities and the ways in which they influence different aspects of language, communication and culture. She also examines how artists’ performances of gender, sexuality and race coincide with the artists’ brand partnerships and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I love looking for ways in which I can blend my academic interests into the work I’m doing outside of school.”
Although still in the midst of working on her thesis, Pope lives in Vancouver where she works as a communications coordinator for an investment management company, Connor Clark and Lunn Private Capital. Pope’s responsibilities include development of promotion and marketing tactics, and recent projects include the company’s rebranding and website redevelopment initiatives.

Fun Fact

In 2017, Amara explored how individuals have unique, hybrid identities created through social constructions of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality at a TEDx Talk in Kitchener, Ont.

One of Pope’s biggest challenges has been trying to find a balance between her work and her studies. While some days are a struggle, Pope says she loves that she can apply the skills she has learned through her academics to the outside world, and vice versa!

“I think it’s really cool when I can start to see the parallels between what I’m studying in my PhD and the work I’m doing in the corporate world.”

A year and a half ago, Pope got the chance to be a speaker at a TEDx talk. In her speech, she says she was influenced by Drake because she herself comes from a hybrid background of being Canadian and Trinidadian. She says she understands what it’s like to be influenced by different cultures and states that her hybridity uniquely informs the ways in which she perceives the world around her.

Pope’s ultimate dream is to one day become a professor in media studies while continuing to work in branding and communications. She hopes to teach others about identity politics through the lens of popular music and musical artists.

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Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.