Kennedy Center Launches Hip Hop Culture Council with Q-Tip at the Helm

The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts today announced the inception of his Hip Hop Culture Council. The council will serve to help the Kennedy Center create new pathways and deepen public knowledge of Hip Hop, contribute to broader Center-wide initiatives, and strengthen the burgeoning hip-hop culture program at the Kennedy Center.

“The Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council reflects a creative, social, and intellectual wealth of the Hip Hop community,” said Q-Tip, Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture. “The members are the embodiment of what we stand for and all that we aspire to achieve with the Hip Hop Culture program.”

Serving as advisers and ambassadors the founding council members form a dynamic community of prominent visionaries who will other talents and expertise in support of Hip Hop Culture at the Kennedy Center.  Beginning the spring, members of the Council will let their voices and ideas help create, experiment, develop, and produce work at the center.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with such an extraordinary group of icons, innovators, and contributed to the Culture,” said Simone Eccleston, Director of Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music.  “Q-Tip is deeply invested in creating a brain trust to advance and expand our work.  As we continue to build the complex ecosystem that supports this program, the Council becomes an integral piece in sustaining Hip Hop’s present at the Center.”

Here’s a sonic introduction to the 2017-2018 Hip Hop Culture Season. Listen Now!

Initial projects and programs featuring council members included a celebration of Hip Hop’s first motion picture, Wild Style, directed by Charlie Ahearn with 35th anniversary film screening and discussion featuring council members Fab 5 Freddy and Grandmaster Caz in the Terrace Theater, Friday, March 16.  Founding council members and Grammy award-winning pianist Robert Glasper and award-winning emcee Common with group made world-renowned drummer Karriem Riggins, come together in their first live public performance after the release of their self-titled debut album August Green, in the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, Thursday, March 29.

Bobbito Garcia a.k.a. Kool Bob Love will also present the U.S. film premiere of the ROCK RUBBER 45s – an autobiographical cinematic odyssey exploring the connectivity of global basketball, sneaker, and music lifestyle. The film, screened in the Terrace Theater on Friday, June 22, explores Garcia’s youth dealing with mistreatment, identity, and loss as well as his ascension to self-determination as an adult freelance creative.

“Being invited to be a founding member of the Hip Hop Culture Council bears a ton of responsibility,” said Bobbito Garcia. “We will ensure that there is no compromise to the art form and that is presented in all its wonder and beauty for all to enjoy.”

About the Hip-Hop Culture Center

With Hip Hop Culture serving as one of our nation’s greatest cultural assets and ambassadors, the Hip Hop Culture program at the Kennedy Center recognizes Hip-Hop’s contributions to global culture and its power to build and transform communities through art and action. Through this programmatic platform, the Center aims to create a dynamic home for Hip Hop Culture and celebrate Hip Hop’s role as a catalyst for innovation, exploration, and transformation with a dynamic mix of performances, humanities events, film screenings, workshops and interactive experiences, in person and online. In 2016, the Kennedy Center appointed iconic rapper, producer, and DJ Q-Tip as its first Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture. In 2017, LL COOL J was the first Hip Hop artist to receive the Kennedy Center Honor.

For information about the Hip Hop Culture Center, click here.


Latoya Henry is the publisher and founder of Haute Giving: The Sexy Side of Philanthropy.
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