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Ralph McDaniels

Source: Bryan McDaniels / Handout

A public library system in New York City is launching a new program celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop, with the guidance of the legendary “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels.

Last week, the Queens Public Library announced a partnership with over 30 libraries, colleges, and art institutions nationwide to honor the culture of Hip-Hop celebrating 50 years of existence. The partnership was made possible through funding via a $267,760 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) That has led to the launch of “Collections of Culture: 50 Years of Hip Hop Inside Libraries, Museums, and Archives,” which will be coordinated by the library’s Hip-Hop coordinator, Ralph McDaniels. 

McDaniels, the beloved host of the iconic Video Music Box television show has been in that role with the library since 2015. As a venerable archivist of the culture, the Brooklyn native has been instrumental in providing education about all of the elements of Hip-Hop. “Hip-hop has been a learning tool for many years,” McDaniels said in the statement. “We are humbled by the IMLS grant and the response we have received from our partners and collaborators and excited that communities around the country will come together to deepen their understanding of Hip-Hop as it turns 50.”

The six-month program kicked off last Monday (February 27th) as Grammy Award-winner and Hip-Hop pioneer Chuck D joined McDaniels at the Central Branch of the QPL for a discussion on the culture turning 50 and the borough of Queens’ impact as well as other subjects. The QPL is also working with The Gates Preserve, a multimedia hip-hop archiving and preservation firm that is helping each institution create original programming along with creating a digital archive of each event for QPL’s Digital Hip-Hop Archive.

“QPL’s hip-hop program has drawn people of all ages and backgrounds to our spaces and has created a unique community connected by a love for music and knowledge,” said QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott in the release. “We are thrilled to share our experience with libraries, museums, and other educational institutions across the country to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, and we are grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services and our partners for their tremendous support in making sure that hip hop remains part of our culture for generations to come.”

For more information on upcoming programs, check out the dedicated website here.