2023 Hip Hop 50 Summit

FREE Event

Hosted: August 3 & August 4

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center 
Entrance At: 45-50 Van Dam Street, LIC NY 11101

The 2023 Hip Hop 50 Summit was a two-day event designed to showcase Hip Hop culture throughout the last 50 years. In honoring Hip Hop’s rich history and depth, the Summit featured a wide range of themes—from Fashion to Economics—that speak to how and why the genre has evolved into the global phenomenon it is today. The Summit’s interactive workshops invited visitors to learn hands-on from artists who specialize in various elements of Hip Hop, including DJs, break dancers, and graffiti artists. Hip Hop pioneers, performers, and scholars led panel discussions about the history of Hip Hop and its cultural significance in many different sectors of society. Queens Public Library and the Summit’s sponsors, supporters, and visitors engaged hip hop enthusiasts of all ages in the shared effort to spread knowledge of and build community within the world’s most influential music genre.

Thursday, August 3, 9:30am-1pm: Hip Hop for Youth

9:30 - 10:00am
DJ Set by Amira & Kayla and DJ Lennox

10:00 - 10:30am
Introductory Speakers Welcome with Special Guest
(Hosted by Ralph McDaniels)

Performance by: LBX Dance Academy and D Cross Beatbox

Special Guests:

Kenneth Adams, LaGuardia Community College President

Dennis Walcott, Queens Public Library President & CEO

Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President

Cindy Landrum, IMLS Deputy Director

10:30 - 11:15am

Hip Hop History, Science, Technology & Innovation

Hosts/Moderators: Aaliyah Duah

Panelists: Phresher, Bianca Bonnie (formerly known as Young B.), DreamDoll, Dr. Brandeis Marshall, Dr. David James

Youth from across NYC are invited to learn and immerse themselves in Hip Hop culture, learn from industry experts, and engage in activities. This session seeks to provide a comprehensive experience that combines education, entertainment, and hands-on learning. By exploring the history, science, technology, and innovation within Hip Hop, the summit aims to empower young people to express themselves creatively, develop their skills, and gain insights into various aspects of the entertainment industry. 

11:15 - 11:30am 

Performance by: Dr David James, King UpRock and Dowe Twins Freestyle

11:30 - 12:15pm

The Business of Hip Hop, Careers, and Activism 

Hosts/Moderators: Aaliyah Duah

Panelists: D.M.C. of Run-D.M.C., Lumidee, A.V. Perkins, Deborah Harris of Hush Tours

Hip Hop moves people. The passion around Hip Hop creates opportunities for making money and changing minds. The business of Hip Hop includes music production, artist management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Hip Hop also plays a big role in activism and politics. Hip Hop impacts the economy, social issues, and politics, while artists use their platforms to raise awareness about important issues.

Thursday, August 3, 2pm-5pm: History and Culture

2:00 - 3:00pm

Paving the Way: Pioneers of Hip Hop 
Hosts/Moderators Ralph McDaniels

Panelist: KRS-One, DMC of Run-DMC, DJ Hurricane, MC Sha-Rock, Original Cipha Sounds, Fred "Bugsy" Buggs

We will highlight those who laid the foundation for Hip Hop musically and culturally, particularly those who shaped the genre in NYC. We will honor the ways that past generations have paved the way and what the moguls learned/taught us in the process. Panel discussions will encourage cross-generational dialogue to address how generations past and present connect, where they disconnect, the unique perspectives they each bring to the genre, and how they can work together to advance noteworthy causes.

3:15 - 3:30pm
Fashion Show and DJ Wiz

3:30 - 4:30pm

Switch the Style Up: Fashion in Hip Hop

Hosts/Moderators: Tianni Graham

Panelists: Shirt Kings, Elena Romero, Rikki Byrd, Camille G. Lawrence, Malik Dupri (Hip Hop Fashion Designer), Dave Huie (CEO, PowHerful Apparel)

This section of the Summit will pay homage to the leaders and trends of Hip Hop fashion. Hip hop fashion has indeed undergone various transformations. In the 1980s and '90s, brands like Adidas, Nike, and FUBU became synonymous with hip hop style. Baggy jeans, oversized jerseys, and Kangol hats were popular. Then, in the 2000s, we saw a shift towards a more glamorous and flashy aesthetic, with artists like Jay-Z and Sean Combs promoting luxury brands like Gucci and Versace. Hip hop fashion has had a profound impact on mainstream culture. Today, you see elements of hip hop style in high fashion runways, collaborations between luxury brands and streetwear labels, and even in everyday casual wear. The influence of hip hop fashion extends beyond clothing to hairstyles, accessories, and even the way people carry themselves

4:30 - 4:45pm
Fashion Slide Show

Friday, August 4, 9:30am-4pm: Hip Hop’s World-Wide Impact


DJ Set by Chuck Chillout

10:00 – 11:15 am

Media, Technology, and the Future

Hosts/Moderators: Rocky Bucano, Executive Director, Universal Hip Hop Museum

Panelists: Dj TedSmooth, Dr. Brandeis Marshall, Bruce Jackson, Tuma Basa (Director, Black Music & Culture at YouTube), Datwon Thomas (Editor-In-Chief, VIBE magazine; Vice President of Cultural Media, MRC); Whitney-Gayle Benta (Chief Music Officer, JKBX Music)

This section will acknowledge the ways in which Hip Hop interacts with media and technology in positive and negative ways. We will pay homage to the early Black-owned/centered media outlets, such as magazines and TV shows that showcased Hip Hop culture. Panel discussions may acknowledge “stan” culture, methods of distribution (records, cassettes, CDs, devices, streaming), and concerts. This section may also include the political side of media and technology, such as brand deals, cancel culture, gossip blogs, internet “beef”, and more.

1:00 - 2:00pm 

Cash Rules Everything

Hosts/Moderators: Ralph McDaniels

Panelists: Mr. Cheeks, Chubb Rock, Dan Charnas, Paradise Gray

This section will acknowledge Hip Hop as a business and the ways in which business practices can limit or expand its impact. This will highlight the culture of materialistic spending, contrasted with the rise of economically conscious rap that encourages ownership, self-sufficiency, collective bargaining, property, and investment. Panel discussions may also include capitalism, “Black capitalism,” generational wealth, and the concept of giving back.

2:00 - 2:15pm 

DJ Set with DJ Stokes

2:30 - 3:45pm 

Fight the Power: Social Justice and Education

Hosts/Moderators: Dr. Shango Blake (CEO of TRU SK Consultants)

Panelists: Ajene Watson, Dr. Christopher Emdin, Al Pizarro, Mysonne Linen, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. (President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus), Dr. Nadia Lopez

This section will focus on Hip Hop as a legitimate vehicle for social change. It will explore music and music videos as news, commentary, and protest. We will explore how artists have traditionally responded to violence and injustice within their communities and how the world has responded to this. We will highlight specific, high-profile incidents, such as the deaths of Rodney King and Trayvon Martin, but also the overall role and influence of music in politics.  

3:45 - 4:00pm 

Graffiti Exhibit