With the Birth of Hip Hop, New York’s Young People Changed the World.
New York was already one of the world’s great centers for arts and music when its children transformed world culture with the birth of Hip Hop in the 1970s. While deadbeat landlords torched vulnerable neighborhoods to cash in on insurance and cash out on the poor, young people who lived in them repurposed emerging technologies like turntables and spray cans; reimagined uses for desolate properties and discarded cardboard; and remixed expressions of hope and opportunity. The results of that ingenuity: the multidimensional elements of Hip Hop that encompassed spoken word, visual arts, dance, musical composition, and knowledge, and built on a communal tradition of resistance to adversity. Almost half a century later, popular music, fashion, sports, retail, advertising, theater and more have been touched by Hip Hop’s enduring and transformative impact on culture.
The Hip Hop revolution of the 1970s could not happen today. While we could point to environmental and socio-political factors unique to that era, fundamentally Hip Hop was conceived by NYC’s most marginalized young people living in some of its poorest communities. All of them shared something too few of them possess in 2019: a public education that included music and art from elementary through high school. Even if they didn’t attend specialized secondary schools, they all had experienced some band, music theory, painting, drawing, dance, or theater that helped shape and influence them. Those shared experiences became a foundation on which to build a movement all their own.
Hip Hop Provides a Name, Voice, Movement, and Community. Hip Hop was not the byproduct of well-intentioned philanthropists, best practice think tanks, highbrow gallerists and auctioneers, ivory tower academicians, political power brokers, or Wall Street financiers. As our resident emcee Randy Mason reminds us, Hip Hop happened because visionary young people gave their dispossessed peers a name (graffiti), a voice (emcees), a movement (b-boys), and a community (DJ-driven house and block parties).
Remix Your Donations in 2020. Thrive Collective’s New York empowers emerging generations to remix this cauldron of cultural mashups in ways that are unique to them. Help us Bring Art Back to all NYC students and schools in 2020 and beyond. New this year: you can direct your 2020 donations to bring Beats and Bars to schools like PS 188.
Turn Up the Value (Official Music Video)
Watch the official music video for “Turn Up the Value” (2018), written, performed, and produced by Thrive Collective’s hip hop students.