Iconic Hip-Hop Pics On Display At Smithsonian Museum of African American History

“Represent” showcases iconic photographs inspired by the four elements of hip-hop: DJs, MCs, breakdancers, and graffiti.

By Shirley Ju @shirju

(AllHipHop News) This is a hip-hop photo collection like no other.

The “Represent: Hip-Hop Photography” exhibit has found a home at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, located in Washington D.C.

Once upon a time, hip-hop was born in the Bronx, New York.

Tracing back to the 1970’s, rap culture as a whole was founded upon four elements: deejaying, emceeing, breakdancing, and graffiti.

Former Def Jam publicist Bill Adler was around to shoot many pivotal moments.

In 2015, the Smithsonian acquired his Eyejammie Hip-Hop Photo Collection, making it the largest hip-hop photography collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The photographs displayed in the new “Represent” gallery capture and represent some of the rarest moments shared amongst the icons in hip-hop.

For example, a 1920’s shot of Queen Latifah next to blues singer Gladys Bently hangs on the wall, showcasing their impact in the culture on a social, political, and musical level.

“The pairing of photographs will challenge our visitors to view hip-hop within the context of a long-standing tradition of black creative achievement," said Rhea Combs.

"It also reminds us that hip-hop is based upon rearticulating other arts that are constantly changing over time," Combs added.

The gallery will also feature excerpts from three game-changing films in rap culture: Wild Style, Graffiti Rock, and Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.

“Represent” resides on the second floor inside the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts gallery and will be open for viewing through May 3 of next year.

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