The Kennedy Center

Hip Hop Culture

With Hip Hop Culture serving as one of our nation’s greatest cultural assets and ambassadors, The Hip Hop Culture program at the Kennedy Center recognizes Hip Hop’s contributions to global culture and its power to build and transform communities through art and action. Through this programmatic platform, the Center aims to create a dynamic home for Hip Hop Culture and celebrate Hip Hop’s role as a catalyst for innovation, exploration, and transformation with a dynamic mix of performances, humanities events, film screenings, workshops and interactive experiences, in person and online.

Serving as the inaugural curatorial season from Artistic Director and Advisor at Large Q-Tip, the 2017-2018 Hip Hop Culture Season celebrates the early beginnings of the Culture while recognizing its vital and transformative role in contemporary society.

In The Beginning

A dance party series showcasing pioneers and leading DJs as they share their distinct voices and sonic interpretations of the beginnings of Hip Hop.

Film

A film series showcasing a diverse mix of documentary, classic, and contemporary films rooted in the Culture as well as works from Hip Hop generation filmmakers.

The Bridge

A concert series designed to showcase musical innovators in the Culture — past, present and future. The Bridge will be a mix of straight ahead performances, unique collaborations and one-of-a kind experiences, creating bridges between artists, audiences, and beyond.

Critical Breaks

A theater residency program that creates a development and presentation pipeline between NYC based Curator in Residence Hi-ARTS and the Kennedy Center for theater artists who are in the pivotal phases of developing new work. In addition to Critical Breaks, we will also feature special theatrical presentations as part of the Hip Hop Culture Season.

With Hip Hop constantly changing and evolving, it is easy to forget the history and legacy that preceded it. I want to begin at the beginning of the culture and help people see its roots, better understand its present, and responsibly create its future.

– Q-Tip, Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture

Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council

The Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council (HHCC) is a dynamic community of high-profile visionaries who graciously lend their names, talent, expertise, and resources to a wide range of initiatives. Council members bring greater visibility to our programs by forging new pathways that deepen public knowledge and appreciation for Hip Hop Culture — all to help establish a home for creative projects that are strategically aligned with our institutional mission and vision.

Read more about the council

  • Questlove

    Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
    Drummer, Co-Founder – The Roots, DJ, Producer, Author, Lecturer


    theroots.com

  • Bobbito Garcia

    Bobbito García a.k.a Kool Bob Love
    DJ, Filmmaker, TV/Radio Personality, Author, and Ballplayer


    koolboblove.com

  • Common

    Common
    Emcee, Actor, Poet & Film Producer


    thinkcommon.com

  • Fab 5 Freddy

    Fab 5 Freddy
    Artist, Filmmaker, and Hip Hop Pioneer


    fab5freddy.com

  • Grandmaster Caz

    Grandmaster Caz
    Emcee, DJ, Historian, Hip Hop Culture Ambassador & Pioneer

  • Grant Hill

    Grant Hill
    Owner/Vice-Chairman Atlanta Hawks, TNT/ NBATV/ CBS Broadcaster, and seven-time NBA All-Star


    granthill.com

  • J. Period

    J.PERIOD
    DJ, Producer & Musical Storyteller


    JPERIOD.com

  • Jason King, Ph.D

    Jason King, Ph.D
    Associate Professor and Director of Global Studies, New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music


    jasonkingonline.com

  • Kierna Mayo

    Kierna Mayo
    Writer, Brand Architect, Media Visionary & Senior Vice President of Content and Brands at iOne Digital


    cassiuslife.com

  • Large Professor

    Large Professor
    Emcee, Producer, DJ

  • LL Cool J

    LL COOL J
    Emcee, Actor, Author, Entrepreneur, 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree


    llcoolj.com

  • MC Lyte

    MC Lyte
    Emcee, DJ, Actress, Entertainer, Speaker, and Philanthropist


    mclytenow.com

  • Pharoahe Monch

    Pharoahe Monch
    Emcee, Recording Artist, Producer

  • Mimi Valdes

    Mimi Valdés
    Film/TV Producer & Chief Creative Officer, i am OTHER Entertainment

  • Robert Glasper

    Robert Glasper
    Pianist, Composer, and Producer


    robertglasper.com

  • Black Thought

    Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter
    Emcee, Co-Founder – The Roots, Actor


    theroots.com

  • Xavier Jernigan

    Xavier "X" Jernigan
    Head of Cultural Partnerships, Shows & Editorial and Host of Showstopper for Spotify


    Listen on Spotify

  • 9th Wonder

    9th Wonder
    Producer, DJ, College Lecturer, and Social Activist

Here's a sonic introduction to the 2017-2018 Hip Hop Culture Season. Listen Now!

Upcoming Events


MC Lyte: Lyte as a Rock 30th Anniversary Concert

Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 8:00 PM

Grammy-nominated emcee MC Lyte takes it back to the beginning with a 30th anniversary celebration of her debut album Lyte as a Rock.

Buy Tickets