Introducing the Hip Hop Culture Council

The Kennedy Center
Mar 6, 2018 · 5 min read

Founding Members Expand Hip Hop’s Presence At The Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced the inception of its Hip Hop Culture Council. The Council will serve to help the Kennedy Center create new pathways and deepen public knowledge of Hip Hop, contribute to broader Center-wide initiatives, and strengthen the burgeoning Hip Hop Culture program at the Kennedy Center.

“The Kennedy Center’s Hip Hop Culture Council reflects the creative, social, and intellectual wealth of the Hip Hop community,” said Q-Tip, Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture. “The members are the embodiment of what we stand for and all that we aspire to achieve with the Hip Hop Culture program.”

Serving as advisors and ambassadors, the founding council members form a dynamic community of prominent visionaries who will lend their talents and expertise in support of Hip Hop Culture at the Kennedy Center. Beginning this Spring, members of the Council will lend their voices and ideas to help create, experiment, develop, and produce work at the Center.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with such an extraordinary group of icons, innovators, and contributors to the Culture,” said Simone Eccleston, Director of Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music. “Q-Tip is deeply invested in creating a brain trust to advance and expand our work. As we continue to build the complex ecosystem that supports this program, the Council becomes an integral piece in sustaining Hip Hop’s presence at the Center.”

Initial projects and programs featuring council members will include a celebration of Hip Hop’s first motion picture, Wild Style, directed by Charlie Ahearn with a 35th anniversary film screening and discussion featuring council members Fab 5 Freddy and Grandmaster Caz in the Terrace Theater, Friday, March 16. Founding council members and Grammy® award-winning pianist Robert Glasper and award-winning emcee Common, with groupmate world-renowned drummer Karriem Riggins, come together in their first live public performance after the release of their self-titled debut album, August Greene, in the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, Thursday, March 29.

Bobbito García aka Kool Bob Love will also present the world premiere of ROCK RUBBER 45s — an autobiographical cinematic odyssey exploring the connectivity of global basketball, sneaker, and music lifestyle. The film, screened in the Terrace Theater on Friday, June 22, explores Garcia’s youth dealing with mistreatment, identity, and loss as well as his ascension to self-determination as an adult freelance creative.

“Being invited to be a founding member of the Hip Hop Culture Council bears a ton of responsibility” said Bobbito García. “We will ensure that there is no compromise to the art form and that it is presented in all its wonder and beauty for all to enjoy.”


Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

Drummer, Co-Founder of The Roots, DJ, Producer, Author, Lecturer

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Bobbito García a.k.a Kool Bob Love

DJ, Filmmaker, TV/Radio Personality, Author, and Ballplayer

Twitter / Instagram / Website


Emcee, Actor, Poet & Film Producer

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Fab 5 Freddy

Artist, Filmmaker, and Hip Hop Pioneer

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Grandmaster Caz

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

Twitter / Instagram

Grant Hill

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

Twitter / Instagram / Website


DJ, Producer & Musical Storyteller

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Jason King, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Global Studies, NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Kierna Mayo

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

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Large Professor

Emcee, Producer, DJ

Twitter / Instagram


Emcee, Actor, Author, Entrepreneur, 2017 Kennedy Center Honoree

Twitter / Instagram / Website

MC Lyte

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

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Pharoahe Monch

Emcee, Recording Artist, Producer

Twitter / Instagram

Mimi Valdés

Producer, Chief Creative Officer at i am OTHER Entertainment

Twitter / Instagram

Robert Glasper

Pianist, Composer, and Producer

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter

Emcee, Co-Founder of The Roots, Actor

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Xavier “X” Jernigan

Head of North America, Shows & Editorial and Host of Showstopper for Spotify

Twitter / Instagram / Website

9th Wonder

Producer, DJ, College Lecturer, and Social Activist

Twitter / Instagram / Website

Learn more about Hip Hop Culture at The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center

The nation’s performing arts center.

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