Yearlong celebration kicks off 50 events marking 50 years off Hip-Hop

Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams.
Associated Press/John Minchillo/File

During National Hip Hop History Month last November, Mayor Eric Adams announced a 12-month celebration of the milestone 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

He said then that 50 events would highlight the year-long revelry.

“Happy birthday to hip-hop turning 50, we’re going to have a celebratory party like we’ve never witnessed before,” the mayor said.

This year marks the golden anniversary of the genre and the promise of decorated taxi cabs, illuminated skylines, kiosks, buses, immersive traveling experiences, murals, walking tours, art exhibitions, concerts, a museum dedicated to the genre and endorsements from a plethora of social media platforms.

Each month will feature specific activities suited to showcase the stories of New York City’s contribution to the now global cultural phenomenon.

The Schomburg Center for Social Research in Black Culture in Harlem has already slated a preview screening and follow-up conversation titled “Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World.”

The program bills Chuck D, the vociferous interpreter and fronter of rap group Public Enemy who will offer his own perspective on the role his revolutionary union of griots played in enhancing the genre.

“Long before any conglomerate realized it was time to wake up, hip hop had been speaking out and telling truths,” the hit-making lyricist said.

On Jan. 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. he will also detail the impact and political awakening his group and others spawned over the years.

From what started as an underground party on Aug. 11, 1973 in the Bronx he will explain the transformative emergence of the movement which is now the most influential cultural movement in the world.

The trailblazing rapper is one of the producers of a PBS film (with the same title) which incorporates the voices of rappers and cultural commentators using archival performance footage to explore the roots of the socially conscious messaging.

Chuck D described the transmission of hip-hop as “the Black CNN.”

His associates also claim the film offers “an incredible narrative of struggle, triumph, and resistance that will be brought to life through the lens of an art form that has chronicled the emotions, experiences and expressions of Black and brown communities.”

They contend that in the aftermath of America’s racial and political reckoning in 2020, the perspectives and stories shared in the film present “key understanding of injustice in the US over the last over the last half century.”

In addition, the film will examine how a generation of Black youths transformed the mindset of millions throughout the world.

The free event will be live-streamed in part to feature Chuck D’s perspective only.

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