The Kennedy Center

Hip Hop

Featured this season 2

Upcoming Events

Lyrics from Lockdown

Oct 18 - Oct 20, 2018

Lyrics from Lockdown an unbelievable true story of wrongful imprisonment and the way race, power, and privilege shape prisons and policing in America. In this one-man multimedia production, prison activist, actor, and Hip Hop theater innovator Bryonn Bain tells his own unbelievable true story by weaving with a fusion of Hip Hop, theater, spoken word, rhythm and blues, comedy, calypso, rock and classical music, and much more

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Hip Hop Listening Session: #LifeIn5 Edition

Wed, Oct 24, 2018, 7:30 PM

Drawing from the “Top 5” concept, participants create a collaboratively generated musical experience exploring the top five songs that tell their Hip Hop stories, facilitated by special guests and with a live soundtrack spun by one of today’s most exciting DJs.

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She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Book Talk and Signing with Author Joan Morgan

Thu, Nov 15, 2018, 7:30 PM

Award-winning feminist author and journalist Joan Morgan delivers an expansive, in-depth, and heartfelt analysis of fierce singer-rapper-songwriter Lauryn Hill with this eye-opening and moving exploration of her remarkable artistic legacy.

Join us for a conversation and book signing with the author Joan Morgan and special guests Kierna Mayo and Demetria Lucas.

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Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop: Book Talk, Panel Discussion, and Signing featuring Chuck D and special guests

Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 7:30 PM

Journalist, author, and producer Vikki Tobak participates in a panel discussion celebrating her new book, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, which takes readers on a chronological journey from old-school to alternative Hip Hop and from analog to digital photography. The discussion will feature Chuck D and special guests including music historian/DJ Adrian Loving, along with industry legends Chuck D, Ernie Paniccioli, Janette Beckman, Danny Hastings, Fab 5 Freddy, Barron Claiborne, and Rhea L. Combs.

All ticket buyers receive a copy of Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop included in the price of their ticket.
Following the performance, panelists will sign books in the States Gallery.

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SHAOLIN JAZZ: Can I Kick It? - The Warriors

Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 7:30 PM

This innovative film experience pushes the envelope of sound syncing, where classic martial arts films are remixed live by 2-Tone Jones, accentuating specific scenes with well-timed DJ techniques. For this special presentation of Can I Kick It?, SHAOLIN JAZZ focuses on the 1979 cult classic The Warriors, an influential film in Hip Hop culture. 

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Oddisee & Good Compny, Phonte, and Olivier St. Louis (part of The Bridge Concert Series)

Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 8:00 PM

A respected underground MC both locally and abroad, Oddisee returns to his hometown for a specially curated evening with individual sets by his group Oddisee & Good Compny, North Carolina emcee Phonte, and Berlin-based singer/songwriter Olivier St. Louis.

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Meshell Ndegeocello: No More Water | The Fire Next Time: The Gospel According to James Baldwin

Sun, Dec 16, 2018, 8:00 PM

No More Water | The Fire Next Time: The Gospel According to James Baldwin, the next evolution of Meshell Ndegeocello’s 2016 WaterWorks world premiere Can I Get A Witness: The Gospel of James Baldwin, pays homage to James Baldwin by creating a shared space for reflection, conversation and social change.

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Moon Medicin (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:00 PM

This multimedia concept band, fronted by Harlem-based interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, performs original compositions and re-imagined covers against a backdrop of sound effects and images of sci-fi, punk, sacred geometry, coded symbology, film noir, minstrels, world politics, and ceremonial dance. 

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Queen Latifah (part of The Bridge Concert Series)

Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 8:00 PM

The Grammy®- and Golden Globe®–winning artist is one of Hip Hop’s pioneer feminists. Queen Latifah became the first Hip Hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she makes her Kennedy Center performance debut in this program.

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HERstory: Love Forever

Jun 14 - Jun 15, 2019

Drawing inspiration from Common’s 1994 classic “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” playwright, performer, poet, and teacher Goldie Patrick will examine the roles of several women and their changing relationship with Hip Hop in this immersive full-length play. 

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