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Oakland Museum of California Announces Details of Major Spring Exhibition RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom

(OAKLAND, CA) February 7, 2018— The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has announced details of its major spring exhibition RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom, a celebration of one of the most influential cultural and social movements of the last 50 years, continuing the Museum’s commitment to examining topics and themes that are socially relevant and meaningful to diverse audiences.

Opening in OMCA’s Great Hall on March 24, RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom uncovers the under-recognized story of how Hip-Hop changed the world. Informed by insights from more than 50 Hip-Hop historians, practitioners, and community members, the interdisciplinary exhibition will explore the many ways that Hip-Hop provides a platform for creative self-expression, activism, youth development, and education.

More than a music genre, Hip-Hop is a distinct culture with an evolved sense of identity, tradition, and history. While it includes diverse communities, Hip-Hop is informed by African Diaspora principles and experiences. A response to tumultuous conditions and political events in the early 1970s, youth took to music, dance, poetry, and art to express themselves, innovating something entirely new. Hip-Hop has continued to evolve to become more relevant, dynamic, and pervasive.

RESPECT recognizes the sensational essence of a movement that has become a unifying culture throughout the world,” said René de Guzman, director of exhibition strategy and senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California. “With this exhibition, OMCA sets the stage for a deeper exploration of Hip-Hop: the wisdom and style it has brought to many aspects of all our lives, from the language that we use to the clothes that we wear.”

Through six thematic sections, visitors will discover the beginnings of Hip-Hop and learn about the significant roles that California, and Oakland, have played and continue to play in Hip-Hop’s evolution.

Details of Hip-Hop’s origins will be showcased in photographs and objects from the 1970s, including party flyers from Cornell University’s Hip-Hop Collection, Grandmaster Flash’s original DJ gear, and other iconic images and objects reflecting the birth of Hip-Hop as a cultural response to the times.

A central reading room with select reading materials, artifacts, posters, and statues of Hip-Hop dignitaries provides a space for reflection and learning. Curated listening stations, chess sets, writing prompts, and sample lyrics will inspire further research and meaning-making, connecting Hip-Hop with its deeper cultural principles.

View objects making connections to Hip-Hop style, including everything from street fashion to high-end couture, as well as images by emerging artist Brittani “Brittsense” Sensabaugh, whose powerful photographs documenting marginalized African American neighborhoods will be on display.

Oakland and the Bay Area’s wide-reaching influences on Hip-Hop culture will be recognized through both contemporary and historic elements. A graphic map will highlight Bay Area locations of significant importance to Hip-Hop’s history, and on-the-street style photographs by Oakland-based Amanda Sade Salako illuminate the continued influence of Hip-Hop in the Bay Area today.

A major part of the exhibition is the dynamic Hip-Hop Dojo: a practice, performance, and event space that will come alive with movement and sound as a kind of master class for Hip-Hop enthusiasts. In the Dojo, visitors of all ages and abilities are invited to experiment with scratching on real beat-making equipment, sit on bleachers to socialize and play chess, or watch other museum goers perform in this space. Visitors can also participate in graffiti-making, and learn Hip-Hop dance moves. Throughout the run of the exhibition, more than 80 participants will activate the Dojo with demonstrations, workshops, and cyphers.

Additional contemporary artworks, historic images, artifacts, and immersive experiences will include: