Fordham Rd. Bomber jacket. Beige Sheepskin with matching hat. Timbs. First vinyl – Planet Rock. Video Music Box. Breakers and linoleum on the street ground. Haring. Red Alert. Lees and laces. B-boys. All of the above and more is where “Mikey’s mom” comes from. Born and raised in the Bronx, during the beginning, height and end of real hip-hop, I saw the D train go from mobile graffiti to its current corporate decor. I played handball on a Haring before collectors started placing dibs. Even in my catholic school uniform, resting in my cozy bed I knew what was going on. I listened to the words of Grand Master Flash. I could not be fooled. Chuck D made my high school years real. I remember this time in my life very well. This was “back in the day” when rap lyrics were more than going to da club. It was a movement. In this house, we stick to the old school. And because I can’t help place most things I love into its proper historical context, my son knows what hip-hop is – its place in society politically, economically and historically.
Fortunately, museums have recognized its place in our world as well, as we saw at MoCA HERE and HERE. However, that was not my first museum meets hip-hop experience. I worked as an educator at the Bronx Museum of Arts when they exhibited One Planet under a Groove. That was amazing to me. To see images I grew up with hanging on a museum wall, framed beautifully and discussed within the context of art history was surreal.
Recently, LACMA had a pretty spectacular program featuring BUA and DMC. Not only did we throw our hands in the air and wave them like we just don’t care, we listened to stories about the greats – Bambaataa, Futura 2000, Kurtis Blow, Grand Master Caz (Rapper’s Delight was stolen from him, by the way), Rakim and of course Run DMC. My son shook the hands of the artist who sold the most posters (ever) and a legendary rapper. Successful evening, indeed. Thank you museums. Thank you Hip-Hop.