Hip Hop’s turns 50 this year. The culture’s lasting impact on music, fashion, and art has inspired five decades of participants to enter the creative arts, start their own businesses, and incorporate the cause of social justice into their work. As the movement continues to grow, incorporating the passions of a new generation, this anniversary is a wonderful time to remember the pioneers and to celebrate their work.
Check out the following events* to commemorate Hip- Hop’s 50th Birthday.
*Links will connect to the most up-to-date event webpage
1) Hip Hop at 50: Soul of a Nation – Rhythms, Rhymes, and Reflections
The special first aired as part of Juneteenth celebrations and is still available to stream on major platforms. Discussions about Hip Hop, its origins, and its future are led by radio personality Angie Martinez. Watch on Hulu, YouTube, and AppleTV+
2) I use to know H.I.M by Yasmine Dankwah
Available online, I used to know H.I.M uses poetry and theater to relay an audience member’s experience of Hip Hop and Rap. The show is available through Aug 30th.
3) The Evolution of Hip Hop Dance
This online program will walk through the different forms of Dance within the culture and their origins in the Black community. The showing can be viewed with a donation. Available Aug 11. To Aug 14.
4) The Book of Hov
This exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library depicts the career and art of Jay-Z “HOV” Carter. The exhibit has extended its local showing dates. A virtual tour is also available on the exhibition website.
5) Attend Native Tongues Live with Moni Love
Add this to your list of events to hear about history from history makers. Moni Love hosts a discussion on members of the Native Tongues Collective, a group of East Coast artists who banded together during one of Hip Hop’s early movements toward positivity and consciousness. Session is on YouTube Aug. 20th.
6) Watch “Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme”
This documentary from the early 2000s will air on YouTube. It depicts the journey of MC’s as they perfect the art of Freestyle rapping and trade stories of their journey as craftsmen of Hip Hop culture. Available on YouTube.
7) Experience the 50 Years of Hip Hop Pop Up with Dr. Paul McNeil
This is a pop-up Museum that uses AR (augmented reality) to create an immersive experience for the viewer. Combine an exploration of technology with a celebration of milestones from the past and present. This event requires a ticket purchase. Event is Aug. 25th.
8) Watch Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip – Hop
The women who pioneered Hip Hop are featured. Each episode tackles a different aspect of working inside the culture. The ladies share stories of working as artists and industry leaders, rising above sexism, racism, and colorism to stake their claim to the culture and preserve a sisterhood through shared experiences. The documentary is currently available on Netflix.
In Person Events
9) Attend the National African American Museum of History and Culture’s Block Party – August 12th
If you’re near or visiting the East Coast, visit the NAAMH for live music and community focused celebrations. Final calls to join the party on-site will be 10pm Saturday, Aug 12th. Event is free with registration.
10) 50th Anniversary Celebration of Hip Hop at California State Capitol
Hip Hop traveled beyond the state borders of New York to influence artists across the country, notably in places like Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. This in person event is dedicated to the pioneers of the West Coast Hip Hop scene. The event is sponsored by several community-based initiatives. It is free for those who can attend.
11) Rohis Readery: Hip Hop is Born
In or visiting Florida this weekend? On Aug 12, Rohis Readery will host an evening filled with conversations and family friendly activities. Themes will include dance, poetry, and a talk about Hip Hop’s evolution into a worldwide culture. Free to attend, located in Florida.
12) A Voyage Through Time, presented by Unladylike
This show presents the work of Chicago area artists and their personal interpretation of Hip Hop. The event is an homage to the culture and will feature food, drinks, and music. If you’re in Chicago on Aug. 11, check them out.
13) Attend a conversation between Jeezy and T.I. at Cocktails and Conversations (The Bank)
The talk is part of Jeezy’s promotional work for “Adversity for Sale”, the Southern rapper’s new memoir. The event takes place on Aug 15. This is a paid event, occurring in Atlanta, GA. Tickets