Bring Out the Sound System: The West Indian Influence on Hip Hop

We previously featured a special ZRO HOUR dedicated to this same subject and now there is a panel discussion this month on this very same topic. From the press release:

When discussing the origins of Hip Hop, most agree that it began in the Bronx. Many also agree that it is an African-American artform with many antecedents. It is a known fact that the trinity of Hip Hop DJ pioneers have roots in the West Indies including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash. Other early artists who made significant contributions to the music include Kool DJ Red Alert, KRS-One, Doug E. Fresh, among others. The sound systems brought out into the parks by Jamaican DJs and the tradition of toasting are among the influences to be debated and discussed.

Post World War II Bronx had a growing community of West Indian immigrants, particularly after the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965. Recreation rooms at 1520 Sedgwick where Kool Herc deejayed and Bronx River Houses where Afrika Bambaataa held court as well as many local parks and early venues like the Black Door, where Grandmaster Flash rocked, mark the cradle of Hip Hop.

"Bring Out the Sound System: The West Indian Influence on Hip Hop" presented by City Lore and The Point CDC, will take place on Saturday, February 28th, 2009 from 3 to 6 pm at The Point CDC, at 940 Garrison Avenue in the Bronx NY 10474

Dr. Natasha Lightfoot of the Bronx African-American Oral History Project, will lead a discussion featuring Hip Hop pioneers and legends including Kool DJ Herc, Kool DJ Red Alert, Ralph McDaniels (Video Music Box) and VP Records co-founder, Patricia Chin. VP Records (named after founders Patricia and Vincent) was founded 50 years ago as a record store in Kingston called Randy's Record Mart, and went on to record many of the DJ and Reggae legends in Jamaica.

The discussion will be followed by a presentation on Jamaican and Hip Hop sound systems from the 1970s by DJ Kool Herc and Brother Vincent. The evening concludes with a reception, where audience members can view: From Mambo to Hip Hop: The Exhibit, a photo exhibit which complements City Lore's award-winning documentary directed by Henry Chalfant, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale; dance to the music of DJ Just Ice; and purchase West Indian fare provided by Bascom Catering with delicious roti, jerk and curry chicken, and salt fish.


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