hip hop 50 summit

Queens Public Library To Celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary With a Star-Studded, Two-Day Summit August 3-4 at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

Lineup Features Conversations With Hip Hop Greats, Hands-On Workshops, Interactive Exhibits, Augmented Reality Experiences, DJ and Open Mic Sessions, and More

Guest Speakers Include Rappers KRS-One and Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC, the Singer Lumidee, VIBE Magazine Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas and Universal Hip Hop Museum Founder and Executive Director Rocky Bucano

QUEENS, NY_Queens Public Library will celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop with its Hip Hop 50 Summit, featuring two days of panel discussions, interactive workshops, exhibits, augmented reality experiences, open mic sessions and DJ sets, and including appearances by hip hop legends Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and KRS-One, the singer Lumidee, Universal Hip Hop Museum Founder and Executive Director Rocky Bucano, and VIBE Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas, and many others on Thursday, August 3 (from 9:30 AM to 5 PM), and Friday, August 4 (from 9:30 AM to 4PM), at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, at 45-50 Van Dam Street in Long Island City.  

“Recognizing, celebrating and preserving hip hop, as well as exploring its roots, influence and impact, are critical to understanding the history of New York City, our nation, and entire generations that connect and express themselves through this cultural phenomenon,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are thrilled to host the Hip Hop 50 Summit in the borough of Queens, which has played a significant role in hip hop's rise from a local art form to a global movement.” 

QPL Hip Hop Coordinator and Video Music Box Founder Ralph McDaniels, along with co-host DJ G$Money, will emcee the summit, which is designed to explore the origins of hip hop and its transformation into a global phenomenon that endures to this day.

“I am very excited about the Hip Hop 50 Summit,” said QPL Hip Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels, also known as “Uncle Ralph.” “The conversation and agenda will cover all five decades of hip hop culture and its core elements - DJing, MCing, breakdancing, graffiti art and knowledge. The summit will celebrate hip hop legacy, but more importantly, it will create a space to exchange ideas, while also becoming a lasting resource on the subject for the future.”

The summit’s interactive workshops will be led by DJs, break dancers, and graffiti artists. Hip hop pioneers, performers, and scholars will headline panel discussions about the history of hip hop and its cultural, social and economic impact.

Hip hop fans will also get to explore digital hip hop archives and have the opportunity to digitize their own hip hop memorabilia.

In addition, attendees will be able to sign up for a QPL Special Edition Hip Hop Card, featuring artwork by the legendary streetwear trailblazers the Shirt Kings. The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library will also be distributing their special edition hip hop cards.

The summit will kick off with a series of programs tailored to young people. One of them will be “Hip Hop History, Science, Technology & Innovations(Thursday, Aug. 3,  10:30 - 11:15 AM), an immersive workshop, moderated by young entrepreneur Aaliyah Duah, that combines education and entertainment. Rappers Phresher and Young B as well as American data scientist and CEO of DataedX Group Dr. Brandeis Marshall will provide insights into various aspects of the entertainment industry. Youth from across New York City are invited to learn about hip hop culture and engage in various hands-on activities. 

The following panel, “The Business of Hip Hop, Careers and Activism,(Thursday, Aug. 3, 11:30 AM - 12:15 PM) will feature rapper Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC, singer Lumidee, and media personality AV Perkins who will explore the power of hip hop, from opportunities to making money to changing minds, how it raises awareness about important issues and its impact on the economy, social issues, culture, and politics. While it wasn't the intention at the inception of the genre, hip hop artists have led the way in building business empires based on their music and style.

Other highlights include “Paving the Way: Pioneers of Hip Hop(Thursday, Aug. 3, 2-3 PM), a program featuring pioneer rappers KRS-One and Darryl McDaniels, as well as MC Sha-Rock, one of the first female MCs in hip hop history, and DJ Hurricane, best known for his work with the Beastie Boys. They will focus on the past generations who have paved the way, while also encouraging cross-generational dialogue between various artists. 

Switch the Style Up: Fashion in Hip Hop(Thursday, Aug. 4, 3:30-4:30 PM), a discussion hosted by fashion historian and archivist Tianni Graham, will feature the Shirt Kings, Black fashion designer Malik Dupri, PowHerful Apparel CEO Dave Huie and FIT Professor and hip hop fashion expert Elena Romero. They will examine how the different brands, styles and looks all played a big part in the overall hip hop culture, while having a profound impact on mainstream culture and fashion as well.

On Friday, August 4, from 10 to 11:15 AM, Rocky Bucano, the founder and executive director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, will moderate “The Message: Media, Technology and the Future,” a conversation with VIBE Magazine Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas, YouTube Black Music & Culture Director Tuma Basa, Microsoft Senior Attorney Bruce Jackson and DJ TedSmooth about the intersection of hip hop, the media and technology.

The summit will close with “Fight the Power: Social Justice and Education,” (Friday, Aug. 4, from 2:30 to 3:45 PM), a panel featuring Dr. Christopher Emdin, the founder of the #HipHopEd social movement, DJ and Co-Founder of Hip Hop Blvd NYC Al Pizarro, hip hop artist and criminal justice reform activist Mysonne Linen, and Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, a nonprofit that connects the hip hop community to the civic process. They will discuss hip hop as a legitimate vehicle for social change and how artists have traditionally responded to violence and injustice within their communities.

DJ Wiz and DJ Chuck Chillout from WBLS 107.7 FM will provide the soundtrack for the summit, and there will be several interactive performances, a fashion slideshow and a graffiti exhibit. 

Throughout the summit, The Gates Preserve, a multimedia hip hop archiving and preservation firm, will be running a Pop Up Archive featuring digital activations and augmented reality experience where participants can explore hip hop magazines, tributes to late hip hop legends, and view hip hop programs from across the nation via the TRACE phone app. Attendees are also invited to bring their cell phone and printed photos as well as memorabilia from hip hop concerts, such as ticket stubs/passes and concert swag, and learn how to digitize them with the help from professional archivists. To schedule an appointment for the Pop Up Archive, go here

The programs presented during the summit will be livestreamed on QPL’s Instagram, recorded and cataloged in QPL’s Digital Hip Hop Archive to serve as learning tools about hip hop for educators. 

The summit culminates “Collections of Culture: 50 Years of Hip Hop Inside Libraries, Museums and Archives,” a six-month celebration of hip hop funded through a $342,760 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that began in February, when Queens Public Library partnered with New York City’s libraries and other institutions nationwide to host dozens of in-person and virtual programs. 

To see a full list of panels and events, visit HipHop50Summit.eventbrite.com. The event is free to attend, but tickets are limited and required for entry.


About Queens Public Library

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country.  An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in 50 languages, technology and digital resources. Each year, the Library hosts tens of thousands of online and in-person educational, cultural, and civic programs and welcomes millions of visitors through its doors. With a presence in nearly every neighborhood across the borough of Queens, the Library consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology center located in the nation’s largest public housing complex, two teen centers, two bookmobiles, and two book bicycles.


Contact:  Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, ekern@queenslibrary.org, 917 702 0016