Saturday, June 15, 2024

Rep. Kamlager-Dove proposes legislation to celebrate 50th anniversary of hip-hop

U.S. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove of California introduced legislation that would celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

On July 26, the Democratic congresswoman, who represents the 37th District, put forth a resolution to recognize Aug. 11, 2023, as the 50th anniversary of the art form.

50th anniversary of Hip-hop
The 50th anniversary of hip-hop is being celebrated in many places; this is a view of the “Holla If Ya Hear Me” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove is seeking national recognition of the anniversary. (Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images)

“My resolution celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Hip-hop was really a subgenre that I think most folks didn’t think would last as long as it has,” Kamlager-Dove told theGrio.

“I remember back in the day when hip-hop started and the first response from the government was, shut it down,” she said.

She added, “There was this whole movement around explicit lyrics… I think people thought ‘well this is the death of the genre,’” but it wasn’t. 

Kamlager-Dove told theGrio, that “the time is now” to protect the history of hip-hop because some Republican governors are putting forth statutes to erase Black history. 

“It’s important now more than ever to preserve hip-hop because we see governor ‘De-Crazy’ [Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis] and others trying to ban books, take them out of places where young people can learn the importance of hip-hop,” she said. 

“Hip-hop tells an alternative story of folks who have felt marginalized and oftentimes, erased or forgotten” and it is important to preserve that, she added. 

Kamlager-Dove told theGrio that over the years, hip-hop has “evolved into music that has become inclusive.”

“I mean you have Lil Nas X who is committed to the LGBTQ community. You have rappers who have found ways to connect with punk, rock, jazz, Afro and country, which I think sort of affirms how American hip-hop is,” she said.

“This resolution honors the 50 years of hip-hop, celebrates its birth, recognized the contributions from both the East Coast and the West Coast, as well as the contributions not just of men, but female rappers,” she continued. 

The California Democrat said in the resolution that female rappers like “MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Salt-N-Pepa, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott pioneered female rap, moving hip-hop away from being a male-dominated genre.” 

Kamlager-Dove told theGrio that hip-hop has also played a role in influencing the world.  

Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah, shown in 2021 at the BET Awards in Los Angeles, is among the performers mentioned in Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s resolution on hip-hop. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

“Any part of the globe you go to, there is some ethnic group that has found a way to kind of replicate or jump into the hip-hop space to use it to tell its stories,” she stated. 

As for how Kamlager-Dove’s Republican colleagues will respond to her resolution, she believes some of them will get behind her. 

“I had a long conversation with Chair Michael McCaul [R-Texas] about foreign affairs and he said soft power is as important as hard power and music is an incredibly important soft power,” she said.

“I would hope that the hip ones who want to show that they’re down and don’t hate Black people and see us as more than ‘colored people’ may be interested in signing on to the resolution,” she added.

Kamlager-Dove plans to host a press conference with heavy hitters in the music industry to celebrate the 50thanniversary of hip-hop this September. 

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