The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has just announced the creation of its Hip Hop Culture Council. In a post made by The Kennedy Center, the purpose of this newly formed council is to “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 founding members of the council include LL Cool J, Questlove, Common, Robert Glasper, Black Thought, and 9th Wonder, just to name a few. The formation of the council has taken place The formation of the council has come shortly after LL Cool J was inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual celebration that recognizes five artists that have shaped and enriched cultural life in America.
Before the council came to be, Q-Tip had already been involved with the Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture program, working as the program’s artistic director. You can see hear his thoughts on the council in the video below.
While the Culture program and the council are distinct entities, their goals are essentially one and the same. The program’s website states the following concerning its goals:
“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.”
For fans that are invested in the preservation of hip-hop’s roots, these developments should be exciting. With the backing of a reputable institution of the arts, the Hip Hop Culture Council could become an organization that people can put their support behind. While the hip-hop community as a whole is saturated with voices and opinions, the Culture program and council could help contribute to a more unified voice that advocates for hip-hop’s cultural preservation and proliferation.
Additionally, the public recognition of the importance of hip-hop by the Kennedy Center helps maintain its status as a high art form, influencing future artists and fans to respect it as such. This comes at a critical time, as ig’nant styles of hip-hop are more popular and mainstream than ever. With a roster that its stacked with solidified hip-hop legends, only good can be expected of their future actions.
One such action they have planned is their Wild Style 35th Anniversary Film Screening, Discussion & Demo, scheduled for March 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Wild Style is a film from 1983 about a South Bronx graffiti artist, and is often described as Hip-hop’s first motion picture. After a discussion of the film, a dance party will be held.
Hopefully, this is the first of many events to come. It likely will be, if LL Cool J is successful in his endeavors. After being inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors back in December, he noted that he wanted to represent hip-hop to the fullest. ““I’m going to continue to love this culture, elevate this culture and push it forward,” he said. “I’m the youngest Kennedy Center honoree, and hopefully there’s a little more that I can do. I might just have a couple ideas I want to execute.”