With the fate of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue hanging in the balance, Hip-Hop co-founder DJ Kool Herc is issuing a call for supporters of the genre to help save the cultures official birthplace.
AllHipHop.com has learned that Kool Hercs clothing company Sedgwick & Cedar Corp will launch Save 1520, a charitable collection of tees, hats and jackets.
One hundred percent of net proceeds from the sale of Save 1520 clothing will go toward helping the 1520 Sedgwick Tenant Association obtain governmental and philanthropic assistance to purchase the building, in addition to preserving the project and maintain affordable housing.
“This is Hip-Hop’s original house and home to the people, ” said the Hip-Hop legend, who plans to appeal to major artists to make philanthropic donations to assist the tenants n purchasing the building. “We need to save it.”
The request comes three days after Kool Herc, US Senator Charles Schumer and 1520 Sedgwick residents unveiled a financial and long-term ownership plan to preserve the affordable housing project at a press conference.
By mobilizing those inspired by Hip-Hop music and culture as well as the pleas of the tenants to save 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Kool Herc hopes to generate a movement to ensure that Hip-Hops history remains intact.
1520 Sedgwick, one of the few remaining affordable housing complexes in the Bronx created through the New York State Mitchell-Lama program, is in danger of losing its affordable housing program as its owners, BSR Management, prepare to sell the project to a private investment group.
Since receiving notice of BSRs intentions last year, the buildings residents have united with Kool Herc and Schumer to help preserve both the cultural and affordable character of the building.
Despite being officially designated as eligible for National Register of Historic Places as the official birthplace of Hip-Hop, 1520 Sedgwicks status continues to be a concern.
If the building is sold, many of the locations tenants would become displaced.
“We have both a commercial and social responsibility,” said Sedgwick & Cedar co-founder Ray Riccio, who added that his company is taking an active stand towards keeping Hip-Hop alive and well by “reestablishing the pioneers as ambassadors of a forgotten history that can impact millions of people around the world and preserve the birthplace of Hip-Hop.”
“We will join Herc to fight the good fight,” Riccio promised. “It may not be a fair fight when you have a billionaire on one side of the street and low income working families on the other but we’re for the underdog. Time and again, history has shown that the power of spirit is far greater than the power of money.”
As efforts get underway to save 1520 Sedgwick, Riccio is aware that the essence of Hip-Hop must re-emerge as the foundation for the cultures preservation.
“DJ Kool Herc laid the foundation of Hip-Hop on the linoleum tiles at 1520. Kool Herc and the pioneers of Hip-Hop were guided by the principles of non-violence, respect, loyalty and honor which stood in defiant contrast to the world that surrounded them,” he stated. “Sadly, these original values inspired by the pioneers would also come to contradict the images, words and values used to commercialize and define Hip-Hop to the world today. The result has been three generations of children and teenagers robbed of the true heritage, social awareness and spirit of community at the origin of urban Hip-Hop culture.”