New Exhibition in NYC Explores Origins of Hip-Hop

    Salt n Pepa, Spinderella via Twitter

    *A new exhibition that explores hip-hop’s origins is set to open at Fotografiska in New York City this week.

    Per the official website, the exhibit titled Hip Hop: Conscious, Unconscious “amplifies the individual creatives involved in the movement while surveying interwoven focus areas such as the set of women who trailblazed amid hip-hop’s male-dominated environment; hip-hop’s regional and stylistic diversification; and the turning point when hip-hop became a billion-dollar industry that continues to mint global household names.”

    Per the official description, the exhibition will trace the birth of the genre “starting in the Bronx in 1973, as a social movement by-and-for the local community of African, Latino, and Caribbean Americans—to the worldwide phenomenon it has become 50 years later.”

    The exhibition was created in partnership with Mass Appeal.

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    Queen Latifah (Tim Mosenfelder-Corbis-Getty Images)

    “It’s easy to forget that there was a time before hip-hop was an industry and before it made money,” said Sacha Jenkins, exhibition co-curator and Chief Creative Officer of Mass Appeal. “It wasn’t conscious of itself. It was just existing with young people living their lives, dressing as they did, trying to entertain themselves with limited resources and creating an aesthetic that registered amongst themselves. It wasn’t for the world; it was for a very specific community. Then there was an exponentially paced transition where hip-hop culture became a conscious of itself as an incredibly lucrative global export. The exhibition’s lifeblood is the period before hip-hop knew what it was.”

    “We made a thoughtful effort to have the presence of women accurately represented, not overtly singling them out in any way,” said Sally Berman, the exhibition’s co-curator. 

    “You’ll turn a corner and there will be a stunning portrait of Eve or a rare and intimate shot of Lil’ Kim that most visitors won’t have seen before. There are far fewer women than men in hip-hop, but the ones that made their mark have an electrifying presence—just like the effect of their portraits interspersed throughout the show,” Berman added. 

    There are more than 200 photos on view. As noted by Essence, the project highlights female pioneers of hip-hop, such as Cardi B, Eve, Erykah Badu, Faith Evans, Foxy Brown, Lauryn Hill, Lil’ Kim, Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah, and Salt-N-Pepa.

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