The 50th anniversary of the founding of Hip Hop

2023-08-12 19:40:34, Kulturë CNA

The 50th anniversary of the founding of Hip Hop

Half a century ago, in the poorest neighborhood of New York, the Bronx, a new cultural phenomenon was born, that of Hip Hop music.

The founding date of Hip Hop is known as August 11, 1973, at a party organized by the artist DJ Kool Herc, a few days after the criminal gangs in the Bronx neighborhood reached a truce.

Five decades later, what began as a movement for social and racial justice has spread worldwide and become a multi-billion dollar industry. But the Bronx remains the poorest part of New York City.

The Hip-Hop music industry was born in the Bronx of New York, a poverty-stricken neighborhood and a run-down urban area that was facing constant gang violence.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of Hip Hop

The sounds of this music "represent a city collapsing, but at the same time capable of renewal," says Mark Naison, professor of history at Fordham University in the Bronx.

The parties organized in the streets of this neighborhood with elements of Hip-Hop created a window for artists to express their feelings and escape the difficulties of everyday life with their creations.

The four main pillars of Hip Hop, music played by a DJ, rap, the dance known as 'breakdancing' and graffiti or 'graffiti', were born in the Bronx as "a cultural response of a community abandoned by institutions" , says Rodrigo Venegas, known by the nickname "Rodstarz".

"You want to stop our art programs? We will turn the whole city into a work of art. Want to stop our music programs? We will turn turntables into instruments. Want to shut up our community? We will take the microphones and raise our voices", he says.

During the 1970s and 1980s, subway trains heading toward Manhattan were covered in graffiti by young artists.

"It was a way to feel appreciated. We saw New York City and the trains passing through it as a space where we could write our names and say I'm somebody," says Lloyd Murphy, whose nickname is "Topaz1."

Over the years, Hip Hop began to expand to other parts of New York City, the United States, and the world.

But while the artists and big names of Hip Hop mark the 50th anniversary of an industry that today is worth billions of dollars, the birthplace of this movement continues to remain the poorest part of New York.

The Bronx has yet to capitalize on the culture it created.

At the time of Hip Hop's founding, the Bronx had the highest poverty rate, not only in New York City, but of all 62 boroughs in New York State. Fifty years later, this neighborhood is in the same condition.

"I find it ironic that one of the richest industries in American culture comes from a place that continues to be one of the poorest parts of our country," says industry insider Majora Carter.

The 56-year-old has experienced a difficult life in the Bronx, hit by problems as a result of drugs, prostitution and crime. Her brother was killed by criminal gangs.

Early Hip Hop culture was a reflection of the harsh reality in the South Bronx.

New York City as a whole was dealing with a post-bankruptcy crisis in the 1970s, while the Bronx was suffering from a lack of investment and the departure of the middle class.

"The world was not a field of flowers and butterflies and sunshine, especially if you lived in the South Bronx," says graffiti artist Edward Jamison.

In the early 70s, after the murder of the member of the gang and the music group "Ghetto Brothers", known by the nickname "Black Benjie", the rival groups signed a peace agreement, which enabled the organization of parties in the streets of the neighborhood.

On August 11, 1973, artist DJ Kool Herc organized a party at his little sister's school. He is known as the founder of Hip Hop music. On this day, a new musical phenomenon was born.

“These children had nothing left and they created something to give meaning, direction and security to their lives. No one who was part of the beginnings of Hip Hop in the Bronx got rich. But they saved lives. They gave meaning to life," says Professor Mark Naison.

The Hip Hop Museum is expected to open its doors to visitors in 2025.

Residents hope the Hip Hop museum will increase the number of tourists and New Yorkers visiting the South Bronx, so that the neighborhood can finally benefit from Hip Hop's legacy./ VOA

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