Standing in front of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman presented the congressional resolution declaring the Bronx and 1520 Sedgwick Avenue the birthplace of hip hop. The resolution designates August 11, 2021 as “Hip Hop Celebration Day”, August 2021 as “Hip Hop Recognition Month”, and November 2021 as “Hip Hop History Month”. Schumer and Bowman said that the resolution, agreed to by the United States Senate, rightfully recognizes and celebrates hip hop and its cultural impact. Schumer and Bowman said that federal recognition of the art of hip hop is long overdue.
Hip hop, now a world-wide phenomenon, had humble beginnings in New York City. Schumer and Bowman explained that on August 11, 1973, at a “Back To School Jam” held in the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York, a new innovative style of disk jockeying and engaging the crowd with rap was introduced by Clive “DJ Kool Herc” Campbell. Since then, hip hop culture has spread across the nation and the world, uniquely infusing itself into the roots of communities everywhere.
“For decades I have fought to preserve and protect the legacy of Hip Hop as a truly original American art form. When greedy landlords wanted to close the apartment building on Sedgwick Avenue, where DJ Kool Herc first disk jockeyed beside an emcee and lots of hardworking people lived, we stopped them,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I am proud to honor hip-hop’s history and its lasting influence with this Senate resolution, which acknowledges the evolution of hip-hop culture and the tremendous impact it has had on our society.”
“Hip hop is the rebirth of civilization,” said Rep. Bowman. “For Black people who were disconnected from their continent, from their language, from their culture, and from their ancestry, hip hop represented a step toward rediscovering what it means to be a Black American. In using the English language to create an entirely new art form, the pioneers of hip hop created a vessel that grew to impact nearly every facet of American culture. As we continue our fight to advance civil rights and racial justice, we need to not only recognize but celebrate how hip hop and Black Americans have given so much to our culture and our country. I am proud to lead Congress in formally recognizing the contributions that hip hop has made and will continue to make to our country and the world.”
“From a small Bronx neighborhood back to school jam in 1973, to the U.S. Capital government resolution, Hip Hop’s impact has gone a long way over the decades, and the future looks bright, from the ladies to men, old school to new school, the best is yet to come. Thanks to Sen. Schumer, Rep. Bowman, and all involved for honoring Hip Hop with this resolution,” said Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell.
“Thank you Sen Schumer, the Senate, Rep. Bowman, Congress, officials, and your staffs, for unanimously passing the Hip Hop Resolution initiative. In turn symbolizing America’s support for the creators and communities which Hip Hop has historically come from, thus announcing to the nation and the world that Hip Hop is a significant contributor to American society through the arts and culture. Hip Hop Don’t Stop!,” said LeRoy McCarthy of Heterodoxx, Inc.
The art and culture of hip-hop, an original American creation, has transcended boundaries and has been reinvented many times over since its creation in 1973. Hip-hop artists and supporters were originally of African heritage but hip-hop art and culture has become a melting pot, with its artists and supporters transcending ages, ethnicities, religions, locations, and socioeconomic statuses. Hip hop has spawned a multi-billion dollar economy in various industries from high fashion to social media platforms. This influence has arguably placed hip hop at the center of American culture, both directly and indirectly influencing other genres of music and parts of American social life.
Despite these invaluable contributions to American culture and social life, hip hop has struggled to receive the recognition and admiration it deserves on a national level, and government officials have even banned the sale of certain rap albums and disparaged the music altogether. Schumer’s resolution aims to reverse the lack of public recognition of hip hop by unequivocally recognizing hip hop as a critical part of American culture as it has long deserved.
Schumer has long led efforts to honor the birthplace of hip-hop. In 2007, Schumer rallied with tenants at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue to celebrate the apartment building’s eligibility to be recognized on the state and national registers of historic places as the birthplace of hip-hop. Previously, Schumer supported New York City’s efforts to save the building. After being purchased by an investment group, tenants of the building reported poor living conditions. As a result, the city created a program to aid “distressed multifamily buildings,” providing funds for building repairs, which prevented tenant evictions and increases in rents.
The Hip Hop Resolution can be found here and designates the following national observances:
- August 11th 2021 as “Hip Hop Celebration Day” in honor of the anniversary of the birth of hip hop;
- August 2021 as “Hip Hop Recognition Month” to highlight the contributions of hip hop to the broader American cultural landscape;
- November 2021 as “Hip Hop History Month” to reflect on the historical treatment and development of the culture.
Schumer and Bowman were joined by DJ Kool Herc, KRS-One, Cindy Campbell, LeRoy McCarthy, NYS Senator Jose M. Serrano, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark, ED of the Universal Hip Hop Museum Rocky Bucano and others.