Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Senate Majority Leader  Schumer, and Others Introduce Resolution to Recognize and Celebrate Hip Hop’s Cultural Impact

Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), and Congresswoman Sydney-Kamlager Dove (CA-37) reintroduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that would designate August 11, 2023, as “Hip Hop Celebration Day,” August 2023 as “Hip Hop Recognition Month,” November 2023 as “Hip Hop History Month,” and celebrate this year as the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), led the resolution, and the United States Senate unanimously passed it, commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.

Previously, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who was born and raised in New York City, worked with DJ Kool Herc, rapper KRS-One, and the residents of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue to save the building when the owner wanted to sell it and remove its affordable housing units, according to Schumer.

“We were able to prevent so many people from being displaced, and at the same time, make sure this historic landmark would be forever honored properly,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor following the passage of the resolution.

Moreover, Schumer thanked Sen. Bill Cassidy and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who worked on the resolution, and his friend LeRoy McCarthy, a “historian of hip-hop” who proposed the idea of honoring hip-hop, during his speech.

“Over the decades, hip-hop has transcended language, race, age, both geographic and socioeconomic barriers. Many people can attest to the fact that Hip Hop actually changed their lives for the better, gave them purpose and meaning. I know many of them myself, many of whom are New York City and Bronx residents,” Schumer continued. “So, Hip Hop is great. It’s a uniquely American art form that quickly blossomed into a global movement and we are proud, proud, proud today that this resolution, honoring the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, has passed.”

Hip Hop, now a worldwide phenomenon, had humble beginnings in New York City. Fifty years ago, on August 11, 1973, at a “Back To School Jam” held in the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York, a new innovative style of disk jockeying and engaging the crowd with rap was introduced by Clive “DJ Kool Herc” Campbell. Since then, Hip Hop culture has spread across the nation and the world, uniquely infusing itself into the roots of communities everywhere.

The art and culture of Hip Hop, an original American creation, has transcended boundaries and has been reinvented many times over since its creation in 1973. Hip Hop artists and supporters were originally of African heritage but Hip Hop art and culture has become a melting pot, with its artists and supporters transcending ages, ethnicities, religions, locations, and socioeconomic statuses. Hip Hop has spawned a multi-billion dollar economy in various industries from high fashion to social media platforms. This influence has arguably placed Hip Hop at the center of American culture, both directly and indirectly influencing other genres of music and parts of American social life.

Despite these invaluable contributions to American culture and social life, Hip Hop has struggled to receive the recognition and admiration it deserves on a national level, and government officials have even banned the sale of certain rap albums and disparaged the music altogether. Rep. Bowman’s resolution aims to reverse the lack of public recognition of Hip Hop by unequivocally recognizing Hip Hop and commemorating its place as a critical part of American culture for the past 50 years. 

“Hip Hop is the rebirth of civilization,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman. “For people who were disconnected from their continent, from their language, from their culture, and from their ancestry, Hip Hop represented a step toward rediscovering what it means to be a Black American or to be a Latino American. In using the English language to create an entirely new art form, the pioneers of Hip Hop created a vessel that grew to impact nearly every facet of American culture. As we continue our fight to advance civil rights and racial justice, we need to not only recognize but celebrate how Hip Hop and Black Americans have given so much to our culture and our country. I’m proud to lead Congress in formally recognizing Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary and the contributions that Hip Hop has made and will continue to make to our country and the world.”

“For decades I have fought to preserve and promote the legacy of Hip Hop as an original American art form. When greedy landlords wanted to close the apartment building on Sedgwick Avenue, where DJ Kool Herc first disk jockeyed beside an emcee and lots of hardworking people lived, we stopped them,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “I’m proud to honor Hip Hop’s history and its lasting influence with this Senate resolution, which acknowledges the evolution of Hip Hop culture and the tremendous impact it has had on our society and across the globe.”

“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, we honor the genre’s contributions to our society and remember the lived experiences of our people who, through music, have changed the world,” Rep. Maxine Waters said. “Some of the early Hip Hop legends came out of the greater Los Angeles area, and through their lyrics managed to tell honest stories about our struggles and our triumphs. I’ve always said that there is no better way to tell our stories than for us to tell them ourselves and on our terms. Hip Hop, from its birth, has always given voice to the unheard and has served as a catalyst for change that moves our community, our culture, and our country forward. I am proud to join Rep. Jamaal Bowman in co-leading the reintroduction of this resolution.”

“Hip Hop is a critical part of America’s culture and our democracy,” said Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove. “From California’s own Hip Hop legends like Tupac to Nipsey Hussle, Black Americans, in particular, have used Hip Hop to advance movements and build community. I am glad to join Congressman Bowman and Senator Schumer in introducing this bicameral resolution to honor the legacy of Hip Hop as we mark its 50th anniversary this year. Hip Hop has touched nearly every American and impacted every community across the country, and we should shine a light on the work that Hip Hop artists and entertainers continue to do to make a difference in people’s lives.”

LeRoy McCarthy of Heterodoxx Inc, a longtime New York City resident who led the naming effort to recognize the artists, Notorious B.I.G., who died in 1997, and Wu-Tang Clan, thanked the elected officials and their staff for unanimously passing the resolution. He said the action symbolized America’s support for the creators and communities from which Hip Hop came, thereby announcing to the nation and to the world that Hip Hop is a significant contributor to American society through the arts and culture. “Hip Hop, Don’t Stop!” he added.

“Hip Hop has come a long way from its roots in The Bronx, NYC, traveling around the world for 50 years, to being recognized in The House with this Hip Hop Resolution, as the saying goes Hip Hop Don’t Stop!” said McCarthy. “Thank you to Rep. Bowman, government officials, and staff, for this magnanimous honor for Hip Hop.”

“Thank you, Representative Bowman, the U.S. Congress members, and staff, for the 2023 Hip Hop Resolution,” said Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell. “We are looking forward to the continuous support and love from America for Hip Hop Arts and Culture into the future.”

The Hip Hop Resolution designates the following national observances:

  • August 11th, 2021 as “Hip Hop Celebration Day” in honor of the anniversary of the birth of hip hop
  • August 2021 as “Hip Hop Recognition Month” to highlight the contributions of Hip Hop to the broader American cultural landscape
  • November 2021 as “Hip Hop History Month” to reflect on the historical treatment and development of the culture

You can read the full text of the resolution below.

Congressman Bowman Hip Hop Resolution by BLACK WESTCHESTER MAGAZINE on Scribd