The Brooklyn Public Library gave new meaning to the “all-nighter” with an event marking the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop. To commemorate the milestone anniversary, the library hosted “Night in the Library: The Philosophy of Hip-Hop.“
On Saturday, June 17, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., the event took over the landmark Central Library with keynote talks, music, conversations, debates, and activities inspired by the genre’s music and culture.
More than 4,000 people gathered overnight for what organizers are calling one of the largest celebrations of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop to take place this year.
Keynote speakers included hip-hop legend KRS-One and Hon. Dr. Gloria Carter of the Shawn Carter Foundation in conversation with radio celebrity Angie Martinez. The evening also featured various debates about hip-hop’s past, present, and future, according to a release shared with ESSENCE.
“Hip-Hop has outgrown anything imagined as it continues to evolve culturally and musically,” said LeBrandon Smith, Founder of Really Just Hip-Hop, who co-curated the event.
“Arguably the most influential art form in the world, it has permeated all parts of society, including fashion, media, sports, language, and even politics. This ubiquity has created a world where Hip-Hop means different things to people. The combination of celebrating this art form with the institution that helped cultivate my love for reading in my birthplace of Brooklyn is special to me,” Smith added.
The event also featured performances by the National Double Dutch League, film screenings, and appearances by several Roc Nation artists, including GRAMMY-nominated rapper Rapsody, Johnny Cocoa, and Rueben Vincent.
Other speakers included Harlem Fashion Legend Dapper Dan, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Mitchell S. Jackson, and Def Jam’s first publicist, Bill Adler.
This year, libraries across Brooklyn will celebrate hip hop’s legacy with programs that include learning to DJ, graffiti art, breakdancing, spoken word, poetry, fashion, movies, and music.