The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) celebrated Hip-Hop culture with a community block party. (Photo courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture)

By Karyn Cook,
Special to the AFRO

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) hosted the second Hip-Hop Block Party on August 12. The museum held a day-long celebration of 50 years of hip-hop with performances, activities, and events for all ages.

“This feels like homecoming,” DJ Marc Ifini told the crowd before playing a variety of songs ranging from afro-beats to reggae to classic hip-hop songs. Ifini is a Virginia native but current Maryland local, one of the headliners for the mainstage events in the earlier half of the evening.

Key figures from Hip-Hop made an appearance for discussions and performances including Vic Jagger, Monie Love, Remy Ma, Monie Love and more.

The museum’s café known as “Sweet Home Café” also had a special menu dedicated to the block party with a pop-up appearance by Mush DC,  a local restaurant specializing in vegan sandwiches.

The doors to the museum opened at 10:00 a.m., with events for the day beginning at 11 with Hip-Hop standing yoga. Other events throughout the day included a live sneaker cleaning and foot care expo, Hip-Hop trivia, and various discussions regarding Hip-Hop were held throughout the museum. Various Black businesses and artists were also showcased including DC Jumpers, an adult jump-rope group and Tony “Concep” Brown who led a participatory graffiti experience that allowed participants to take home art and stencils to create pieces at home.

“The artistry, the innovation and the global impact that Hip-Hop has had on our culture and the entire world is incredible,” said Derrick Simms, program director of Corporate and Sports Giving at the NMAAHC. Simms was the opening speaker for a presentation located inside The Oprah Winfrey Theater.

“Our museum is here to celebrate that, not just today, but everyday,” said Simms, before diving into a discussion about the similarities in Hip-Hop and basketball titled: “Rhymes and Rebounds: Exploring the Fusion of Hip-Hop and Basketball.”

The latter half of the day-long celebration commenced at 7:30 p.m.with a performance by   J.PERIOD titled “Live Mixtape” featuring Mumu Fresh, Monie Love, Remy Ma and surprise guest Queen Latifah, who performed a medley of her classic hits including “U.N.I.T.Y” and “Ladies First” featuring Love.

The final performer of the night was renowned DJ Kid Capri, who took over the mainstage towards the end of the night and played a lively set.  Final entry to the museum was at 10:00 p.m., with a dance party to finalize the day with doors closing at 11:00 p.m.

According to the museum’s website, there are currently no plans to hold a block party in 2024, but they are currently discussing other ways to celebrate Hip-Hop.