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Special BET curation focuses on hip - hop


50th anniversary this year

A love and appreciation for hip-hop is quite common in the Black community and deeply rooted amongst Black hip-hop enthusiasts. Even more, the Black community is very well-known for its contributions to and development of hip-hop, rap, and R&B. So much so that Getty Images and Black Archives have partnered to host a conversation about the significance of how hip hop has influenced Black culture and society in general.

The recent BET Awards celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. “Hip hop began in the Bronx 50 years ago with a simple mission: To get the party started,” said Shawn Waldron, curator with Getty Images. “Within a few short years, hip hop grew into a multi-tiered cultural phenomenon built on four foundational pillars: Turntablism (“scratching”), MCing, graffiti art and  breakdancing.”

The Getty Images and Black Archives partnership features both historical and cultural images emphasizing African Diaspora beginning in the 1980s up until present decade, (i.e. 2020s) from the Black History & Culture Collection.  Waldron further explained the significance of the collaboration with BHCC, "I think that the BHCC specifically was built and designed to shine a light on untold stories from Black history and culture that haven't been seen, recognized, or acknowledged." 

Hip-hop has made waves for several years, as it speaks to social, political, and everyday life experiences and struggles that artists are trying to defy, counter, and or rise above. The 50th Anniversary of hip-hop has brought with it nostalgia, creativity, and reminiscing on Black cultural trends that have long been a part of a history that has been largely misrepresented for hundreds of years. Hip-hop is the emergence of music that unifies people on the basis of hopes, dreams, trials, tribulations, and struggle.

In addition to the curation, the BET Awards featured a tribute to the ongoing relationship between the Black community and hip-hop. One example was a “love letter to hip-hop” written by Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter) and a special performance featuring LL Cool J, Common, Queen Latifah, and Remy Ma.

Tyree Boyd-Pates, director of partnerships and community engagement with Black Archives, said that his company’s relationship with Getty Images mirrors how the BET and the 50th anniversary of hip-hop merge.

"It really all boils down to a curatorial instinct, but also a paradigm,” Boyd-Pates said. “So we're dealing with Black history, Black art and Black culture. There's a particular paradigm and ways in which African-Americans see themselves. It's imperative for the curator to reflect the interest and also the anxieties of ‘Blackness’ in order to make sure that that community feels reflected.”

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