The Kennedy Center, North America’s revered performing arts and culture center, has long served as a venue for extraordinary experiences from some of our favorite artists: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Kunta’s Groove Sessions’ tour, Solange’s ‘Orion’s Rise’ performances, Nas’ Illmatic concert special (backed by the National Symphony Orchestra), yasiin bey’s final shows after finally being able to leave South Africa back in 2016, and more. Additionally, last year, LL Cool J became the first hip-hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor, the prestigious award that recognizes the lifetime contributions of all types of performance artists.
Now, the Center is expanding hip-hop’s presence within it by launching a Hip Hop Culture Council.
Q-Tip has been named the Council’s inaugural Artistic Director, while its founding members include Questlove, Black Thought, Common, LL Cool J, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Pharoahe Monch, MC Lyte, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Caz and more.
They will serve as advisors and ambassadors who, beginning this Spring, will use their voices and ideas to help create, experiment, develop, and produce work at the Center.
Initial projects and programs will include a celebration of hip-hop’s first movie, Wild Style, with a screening and discussion; the first live public performance of Common, Glasper and Karriem Riggins’ supergroup August Greene; and the world premiere of Bobbito García’s autobiographical cinematic odyssey Rock Rubber 45s.
Q-Tip said, “The Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council reflects the creative, social, and intellectual wealth of the Hip Hop community. The members are the embodiment of what we stand for and all that we aspire to achieve with the Hip Hop Culture program.”
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