Popular musician, producer, and DJ Q-Tip has been named artistic director for hip hop culture at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In his new role, Q-Tip will manage the Kennedy Center’s new Hip Hop Culture series, set to launch in the coming months.
“With Hip Hop constantly changing and evolving, it is easy to forget the history and legacy that precede it,” Q-Tip said in a press release. “I want to begin at the beginning of the Culture to help people see its roots, better understand its present, and responsibly create its future.”
Q-Tip launched his career as part of the hip hop trio A Tribe Called Quest in 1988. After A Tribe Called Quest disbanded 10 years later, Q-Tip went solo, continuing to incorporate his old group’s taste for jazz into his hip hop albums. In addition to his solo work, he has received recognition as one of the best record producers in hip hop and R&B.
The Kennedy Center made the announcements Tuesday, saying the new program would underscore hip hop’s contributions to global culture and would promote associated values such as courage, freedom, justice and service. The Kennedy Center described elements of hip hop culture to include deejaying, emceeing, breakdancing, graffiti writing, and knowledge of self, suggesting its program would incorporate these elements.
“We are proud and excited to be incorporating Hip Hop Culture into our artistic and educational programs during the 2016–2017 season,” said Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center. “In our role as a national cultural institution, we feel it is vital to recognize all of the performing arts in our programming. The history of Hip Hop and its development as an art form, and the complexity and importance of its impact on the arts landscape driving social and cultural awareness, has inspired us to have a more formal connection with our ongoing programming. By launching this series, we strive to spotlight these powerful traits through each program and to make them part of the Kennedy Center fabric as we look into the future.”
The Kennedy Center also acknowledged a new partnership with Hi-ARTS, an organization that develops and produces new works of performance and visual art. Hi-ARTs previously collaborated with the Kennedy Center for 15 years in developing the DC Hip Hop Theater Festival, and also served as co-producer of the Center’s One Mic: Hip Hop Culture Worldwide festival in 2014.
2016-2017 Hip Hop Culture Season Schedule (Additional programming to be announced):
July 12-16, 2016, Brave New Voices Youth Summit
Oct. 12-16, 2016, All the Way Live!
Nov. 3-5, 2016, Words, Beats & Life Teach-In
Nov. 5, 2016, Top Notch
May 23, 2017, DJ Spooky: Rebirth of a Nation
June 5-11, 2017, /peh-LO-tah/
For more information, visit the Kennedy Center’s website at http://www.kennedy-center.org.