You know as well as I do that hip hop should be recognized as one of the most influential forms of music and culture to rise from the 21st century. Despite its relatively young age, hip hop has irreversibly impacted the music industry, and allowed people to share their views and passions from coast to coast and beyond. Now it’s receiving an official day of celebration.
On June 8th, 2017, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the office of The Bronx Borough President, the office of Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, and the NYC-based radio station HOT 97 are proclaiming June 8th as “Global Hip Hop Day.” Not only that, “Hip Hop Boulevard” will be unveiled at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. It was here that DJ Kool Herc co-hosted a party in August of 1973, doing the dang thing and spawning hip hop by extending beats on funk records and MC’ing. Commenting on The Bronx’s significance, The Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. stated, “We are thrilled to unveil Hip Hop Boulevard at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in The Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop… The Bronx is an iconic, internationally renowned hip hop destination, the home of a once rebellious art form that has, over generations, become a global powerhouse.”
According to a press release, the schedule for June 8th will include a Proclamation Ceremony in The Bronx at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and also a community block party celebration at Cedar Playground. The Proclamation Ceremony is invite-only, but the block party is open to the public.
Kool Herc is expected to be in attendance on June 8th, along with a plethora of artists including Doug E. Fresh, DJ Red Alert, Grandmaster Caz, D-Nice, Kid Capri, Slick Rick, Remy Ma, Fat Joe, French Montana, Cardi B, and more. The guest list truly represents a broad spectrum of hip hop that spans its timeline. The evolution of sound and lyricism is just one more aspect of hip hop music that makes it so captivating. As Julie Menin, the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin states, “We are proud to proclaim June 8th as Global Hip Hop Day in the City of New York, part of the City’s inaugural New York Music Month, the first ever citywide celebration of the past, present and future of New York’s music. Beyond history and economics, Global Hip Hop Day celebrates the musical diversity that is a central part of who we are as a city.”
It’s difficult to overstate hip hop’s significance on music. As the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin eloquently explains, “New York City is the music capital of the world… And hip hop, which has become not only a multi-billion-dollar industry, but also a vital way for young people from Paris to Vietnam to share their stories with the world, was forged here in New York City and went on to become the voice of generations across the globe.” Although this is a global celebration, it might reignite some interest in hip hop’s roots for those of us who were in the womb when Illmatic dropped.
A celebration of hip hop is a wonderful way to reflect on how it has shaped the world. What’s equally fascinating is how the world has shaped the content of hip hop. While reminiscing on the past and observing the present, I must wonder what’s next for hip hop? Mos Def once said that wherever we’re going is where hip hop is going, so I’ve deduced outer space is the next destination for hip hop. Before I die, I pray that I can hear extraterrestrial beings try their hands or whatever limbs they might possess to contribute to hip hop.
In all seriousness, Global Hip Hop Day is an important milestone for The Bronx, the five boroughs, and hip hop as a whole. It will be yet another excuse for me to think about how we’ve been influenced by beats and rhymes.