New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on a measure that will contribute $3.7 million to the Bronx’s first Hip-Hop museum, it was announced on Thursday. The funding is part of a statewide New York economic and community development package.
Dubbed the Universal Hip Hop Museum, the effort was “chartered by the New York State Department of Education Board of Regents to document, preserve and celebrate” global Hip Hop music. The executive team championing the project along with the state of New York include executive director Rocky Bucano, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Kurtis Blow, who serve as board chairmen, and cultural ambassadors Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J (pictured), Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy, all of whom spent their formative years in the New York City borough.
“We have been at this dream for about six years now,” Kurtis Blow said in an interview on local television. “We have about 30 to 35 people sacrificing and donating their time to make this dream a reality, and we’re getting close. Our mission is to use technology of today to tell this story of the history of hip hop. We’re talking avatars and holograms and virtual reality. And another thing is interaction with the kids.”
Visitors will have access to virtual reality experiences as well as interactive art installations aimed at bringing hip-hop to younger generations.
“It’s crazy to think of how hip-hop, which has such an influence on pop culture, advertising, politics, doesn’t have a place to call home,” Bucano told CNN in an interview.
Construction on the museum is planned to start in summer 2020 and last through 2023. In the meantime, it is operating as a pop-up exhibit located in the Bronx Terminal Market ahead of being moved to the Bronx Point, which is located off the Major Deegan Expressway.