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"Night at the Library" series at the Brooklyn Public Library
Gregg Richards"Night at the Library" series at the Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library debuts free hip-hop–themed ’Night at the Library’

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the game-changing genre.

Written by
Christina Izzo

The birthplace of some of the greatest hip-hop artists, from The Notorious B.I.G. to Jay-Z, Mos Def to Busta Rhymes, Brooklyn has been integral in the history of hip-hop, the homegrown music genre celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Brooklyn Public Library is celebrating that decades-long connection with "Night in the Library: The Philosophy of Hip-Hop," a free "all-night exploration" of the genre's culture and legacy. 

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On Saturday, June 17, BPL will welcome special speakers and musical artists—including Dr. Gloria Carter of the Shawn Carter Foundation, Grammy-nominated emcee Rapsody, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Mitchell S. Jackson, #MusicSermon founder Naima Cochrane, among others—for keynote addresses, live performances, cultural debates and more, hosted in the iconic Central Library from 7pm to 2am. The evening is co-curated by LeBrandon Smith, Founder of Really Just Hip-Hop, Kelly Harrison, and April R. Silver, founder of Akila Worksongs.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome New Yorkers to join us for Brooklyn’s most exciting celebration of culture and exchange of ideas,” said László Jakab Orsós, Vice President of Arts and Culture at the Brooklyn Public Library. “On the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, we’re proud to honor the legacy of the genre and take a deep dive into this multifaceted art form that has transcended music and had a tremendous influence on our cultural fabric on a global scale.” 

“Arguably the most influential artform in the world, [hip-hop] has permeated all parts of society including fashion, media, sports, language and even politics. This ubiquity has created a world where Hip-Hop means different things to people," said LeBrandon Smith. "Night in the Library will allow for exploration of the genre from different perspectives as a versatile art form that can be provocative, vulnerable, and always thought-provoking. We look forward to celebrating the history of hip-hop, while posing challenging questions that could give us a glimpse into what the future might hold.”

Attendees will also enjoy film screenings, dance performances, rap-lyric readings and the impressive moves of the National Double Dutch League. And in a great reminder that music is for all, the event will feature sound vests by Not Impossible Labs, which will allow non-hearing people to feel the beat of hip-hop firsthand.

Register to attend the free "Night in the Library: The Philosophy of Hip-Hop" event here.

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