U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman announced last week that the Senate unanimously passed a resolution designating Aug. 11, as “Hip Hop Celebration Day” and designating November as “Hip Hop History Month.”
Hip-hop, now a world-wide phenomenon, had humble beginnings in New York City. On Aug. 11, 1973, at a “Back To School Jam” held in the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Ave., in the Bronx, a new innovative style of disk jockeying and engaging the crowd with rap was introduced by Clive “DJ Kool Herc” Campbell. Since then, hip-hop culture has spread across the nation and the world, uniquely infusing itself into the roots of communities everywhere.
“Hip Hop is the rebirth of civilization,” Bowman said. “For people who were disconnected from their continent, from their language, from their culture, and from their ancestry, Hip Hop represented a step toward rediscovering what it means to be a Black American, or to be a Latino American. In using the English language to create an entirely new art form, the pioneers of Hip Hop created a vessel that grew to impact nearly every facet of American culture. As we continue our fight to advance civil rights and racial justice, we need to not only recognize but celebrate how Hip Hop and Black Americans have given so much to our culture and our country. I’m proud to lead Congress in formallys recognizing the contributions that Hip Hop has made and will continue to make to our country and the world.”
The art and culture of hip-hop, an original American creation, has transcended boundaries and has been reinvented many times over since its creation in 1973. Hip-hop artists and supporters were originally of African heritage, but hip-hop art and culture has become a melting pot, with its artists and supporters transcending ages, ethnicities, religions, locations and socioeconomic statuses. Hip-hop has spawned a multi-billion dollar economy in various industries from high fashion to social media platforms. This influence has arguably placed hip-hop at the center of American culture, both directly and indirectly influencing other genres of music and parts of American social life.
Despite these invaluable contributions to American culture and social life, hip-hop has struggled to receive the recognition and admiration it deserves on a national level, and government officials have even banned the sale of certain rap albums and disparaged the music altogether. Bowman’s resolution aims to reverse the lack of public recognition of hip-hop by unequivocally recognizing hip-hop as a critical part of American culture as it has long deserved.
“From a small Bronx neighborhood back to school jam in 1973, to the U.S. Capitol government resolution, Hip Hop’s impact has gone a long way over the decades, and the future looks bright, from the ladies to men, old school to new school, the best is yet to come,” said Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell.