Q-Tip Named First Artistic Director For Hip-Hop Culture At JFK Center For The Performing Arts
March 8, 2016 at 1:15 PM (PT)
The JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS in WASHINGTON, DC, announced thel aunch of its inaugural HIP HOP CULTURE series for the 2016-'17 season, naming legendary rapper Q-TIP as its first Artistic Director.
Said the organization's President DEBORAH F. RUTLER: “We are proud and excited to be incorporating Hip Hop Culture into our artistic and educational programs during the 2016–2017 season. 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.”
An active member of UNIVERSAL ZULU NATION, the first Hip Hop organization which was founded in the 1970s by AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, Q-TIP embodies the multifaceted nature of the culture with a history of seminal work and longstanding relevance in the community.
Added Q-TIP: “With Hip Hop constantly changing and evolving, it is easy to forget the history and legacy that precede it. 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.”
Famously known as a founder and member of the group A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, Q-TIP is regarded as a pioneer of the genre who paved the way for younger Hip Hop artists by introducing jazzy, eclectic soundscapes into Hip Hop production and a new degree of originality to the art of emceeing. His critically praised solo albums include "Amplified," the GRAMMY-nominated "The Renaissance", and "Kamaal the Abstract." Q-TIP is currently the host of APPLE MUSIC’s "Abstract Radio," a weekly FRIDAY radio show where he digs deep into underground favorites and musical legends.
In addition to Q-TIP’s appointment, a key part of the new venture is the KENNEDY CENTER’s formal partnership with HI-ARTS, a leading organization within the urban arts movement that develops and produces new works of performance and visual art. HI-ARTS has 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. The organization has built a strong national reputation as a vital incubator for multidisciplinary work, fusing perfomance, visual arts, and spoken word with elements of Hip Hop and urban arts.
“HI-ARTS is excited about continuing our innovative work around Hip Hop and the urban arts at the KENNEDY CENTER,” said its Producing Artistic Director KAMILAH FORBES. “We look forward to working with the nation’s center for the performing arts and its newly appointed Artistic Director for Hip Hop Culture Q-TIP on this transformative series.”