Hip-hop pioneers Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz Brown are spearheading the effort to bring a "hip hop campus " to the Bronx, called the Windows of Hip Hop.
Four fathers of hip-hop have teamed up to build a shrine to the art in the borough where it was created.
Hip-hop pioneers Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz Brown are spearheading the effort to bring a “hip hop campus” to the Bronx.
Part museum, part school and part civic center, the Windows of Hip Hop will educate and promote the form’s legacy and reach, one of its leaders said.
“We want people to realize what the true essence of hip hop is peace, unity, love and having fun,” said Grand Wizzard Theodore, the DJ who invented scratching and the needle drop.
“That’s why Windows of Hip Hop is so important.”
The group is currently reviewing sites in the central and South Bronx, evaluating which one is best suited for the project.
The planners have formed a nonprofit corporation, launched an online crowdfunding campaign and enlisted a artists, entrepreneurs and hip hop enthusiasts to produce a promotional video. A workshop series and gala are also in the works, organizers said.
“Our long-term goal is to build a hip hop campus that will honor and preserve the history of hip hop,” said Melissa Libran, the organization’s CEO. “Hip hop was born in the Bronx, so it would be best to have a place in the Bronx to honor the world-changing genre.”
Windows of Hip Hop would feature family-oriented activities and classes for artists, such as business management — a skill Libran said several of the pioneers lacked when they got into the industry.
“So much talent comes out of the Bronx,” Libran said. “We want to be able to educate that new talent.”
The planners initially hoped to locate the museum inside the Kingsbridge Armory, which is being redeveloped to the tune of $320 million for use as a national ice skating center.
Plans for the museum were even included in the extensive Community Benefits Agreement that was negotiated between the armory developer and a coalition of community groups.
But the museum’s planning committee decided the site should stand alone, Libran said.
“It’s very important to educate people on what the pioneers have done and what they are trying to do for the future,” Grand Wizzard Theodore said. “That’s what hip hop is all about.”
A concise history of Hip Hop in the Bronx