Essex County College celebrates Hip-hop Appreciation Week

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NEWARK, NJ — On May 20, Essex County Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson welcomed hip-hop performers KRS-One, Duce Martinez, Duce Spyder, Jose “Airborn” Lopez and Pop Master Fabel to Essex County College as part of Hip-hop Appreciation Week.

Hip-hop Appreciation Week, recognized every year in the third week of May, aims to acknowledge and appreciate hip-hop, while celebrating the many aspects of hip-hop culture. This year’s theme was “solidarity.” Fans and students from “The Temple of Hip Hop” — an online group founded by KRS-One that meets weekly and educates participants on hip-hop history and culture — came to Essex County College from as far as Colorado and Canada to take part in the educational seminar moderated by KRS-One.

Richardson offered greetings on behalf of the commissioners board and welcomed the guests and panelists to Essex County.

“As we all know, and as ‘The Blast Master’ KRS-One has said on many occasions … hip-hop started in the Bronx,” Richardson said. “That being said, we are in Newark, and Newark has made a tremendous impact in the hip-hop community.

“The story of hip-hop could not be told without Newark artists such as Redman, Dupré ‘DoItAll’ Kelly from the Lords of the Underground and Queen Latifah — who has given back to her community through her voice as an artist, her stature as a successful actress and role model for our youth, and her actions as an investor in affordable housing for the residents of Newark. These artists — as well as Naughty by Nature, Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean — and many others call Essex County home. So on behalf of them, I welcome you to Essex County.”

The panelists discussed a variety of topics, including their experience as dancers and performers, historic events that influenced them as artists and young men, and their Latin roots and the influence of Latinos in hip-hop.

“Latino culture brought vibrancy to hip-hop. The styles, fashions … the invention of the fat shoelaces came from Latinos,” KRS-One said. “We’re not just studying hip-hop from a point of view of words, history and the material evidence of hip-hop’s past. We are also looking at the influence on attitudes and culture.”

Photos Courtesy of ECBCC