Congresswoman Nikema Williams Celebrates 50 Years of Hip Hop

Aug 11, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Williams (GA-05) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Congresswoman Williams joined Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37) in introducing a resolution commemorating 50 years of Hip Hop and its contribution to American art and culture. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Congressman Troy Carter (LA-02), and Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) also joined in introducing the resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary. In addition, the resolution encourages Members of the House of Representatives to celebrate the 50th anniversary and calls for local governments to build partnerships with local Hip Hop entities. 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) said: 

“The story of Hip Hop can’t be told without Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. There are countless Hip Hop artists from the cities I represent including Atlanta, College Park, Decatur, and East Point who have made music that resonates around the world. Over the last 50 years, Hip Hop has created opportunities for economic opportunity and wealth creation for Black Americans, serving as another pathway to help close the racial wealth gap. Even though the Fifth District’s place in Hip Hop history is secure, we’re ready to trailblaze 50 more years of Hip Hop history.”

“I’m a child of Hip-Hop, and for the past 50 years, we have seen Hip-Hop infuse itself into American culture through music, art, fashion, and film,” said Congresswoman Kamlager-Dove. “Hip-Hop has been used as a tool of resistance and storytelling. Through this genre, Black people have been able to speak truth to the ways they have been marginalized or forgotten. From the crack epidemic to mass incarceration to feeling the weight of systemic oppression, Hip-Hop has been the voice of the Black struggle movement in so many ways. We need to remember that and celebrate how liberating this genre has been for so many. California’s own artists, like Tupac and Nipsey Hussle, have played critical roles in the vibrancy of the Los Angeles music scene. We must continue to support the artists whose lyrics foster freedom of expression, creativity, and storytelling. On Hip-Hop’s golden anniversary, I honor how the Black community has used Hip-Hop as a tool of unity during some of the most harrowing parts of our nation’s history, and I hope that this resolution sends a message against those who try to erase us, demonize us, or call us out of our name. I also hope this resolution empowers each of us to see the special way Hip-Hop has manifested in our lives.”

“Hip-Hop is not just music, but a way of life that has changed America. It is culture, art, heart, soul, swagger, form of dress, language and the way we think about issues. It’s a testament to the impact of Hip-Hop on all segments of society that it is being celebrated in the halls of Congress in such a phenomenal way. I thank Reps. Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Robin Kelly, Jamaal Bowman, Nikema Williams, Summer Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson and Troy Carter for leading this important effort in the House,” said House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries

“As a passionate advocate for the arts, I am honored and looking forward to being a part of the Hip Hop Caucus. The legacy of Hip-Hop music not only offers entertainment, but it also tells a story that recollects our nation’s rich history,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee. “The achievements and setbacks of the 20th Century can be told through the artistry of Hip-Hop, which we should strive to preserve for generations to come. Hip-Hop is not merely a trend but a genre of music that has transcended the English language, expanding to all regions of the world while also exemplifying a unique style of fashion, art, and dance. Even in moments of national division and uncertainty, we can guarantee that Hip-Hop music belongs to all of us.” 

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the most influential music genre, we must remember the power of this art form to bring people together, to challenge injustice, and to express the full range of human experiences,” said Congressman Hank Johnson, author of the RAP Act that protects free speech. “Hip-Hop isn’t just music; it’s a movement that the world looks to for inspiration and will continue to shape our world for years to come.”

“Hip-Hop is ingrained in the fabric of American culture. Hip-Hop has united us, driven meaningful conversations, and amplified cultural and political change,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “I am proud to co-lead this resolution to celebrate Hip-Hop’s legacy and recognize its profound impact on art, culture, and society. At a time when Black history and Black culture is being suppressed and erased, the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop is a reminder of how music has empowered and inspired immeasurable contributions by Black Americans to the fabric of our society.” 

“Hip-Hop is the rebirth of civilization,” said Congressman Bowman. “For people who were disconnected from their continent, from their language, from their culture, and from their ancestry, Hip-Hop represented a step toward rediscovering what it means to be a Black American, or to be a Latino American. In using the English language to create an entirely new art form, the pioneers of Hip-Hop created a vessel that grew to impact nearly every facet of American culture. As we continue our fight to advance civil rights and racial justice, we need to not only recognize but celebrate how Hip-Hop and Black Americans have given so much to our culture and our country. I’m proud to join Rep. Kamlager-Dove and my other colleagues in formally recognizing Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary and the contributions that Hip-Hop has made and will continue to make to our country and the world.” 

“This year marks a significant milestone for music lovers worldwide as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, a groundbreaking cultural movement that has made an enduring impact on our society. Throughout its history, Hip-Hop has been a powerful platform for marginalized voices, channeling the experiences and struggles of diverse communities into powerful lyrical narratives. It has uplifted stories that might have otherwise been untold, providing a space for dialogue on societal issues and inspiring action for positive change. In Louisiana, the heartbeat of musical culture, we know the value of creative expression and its power to connect communities. Hip-Hop, with its infectious beats and poignant verses, has moved beyond just entertainment; it has become a instrument for fostering social unity, a means to bridge gaps, and a driving force for progress,” said Congressman Carter

“Black culture is American culture. The impact of artists from Nas and MC Lyte to J. Cole and Megan Thee Stallion on every part of our culture cannot be overstated—including Black power and social justice movements,” said Congresswoman Lee. I’m proud to join Rep. Kamlager-Dove in celebrating Hip-Hop’s golden anniversary, celebrating Black joy, liberation, and the artists whose storytelling we owe so much to.” 

“For decades I have fought to preserve and promote the legacy of Hip-Hop as an original American art form. When greedy landlords wanted to close the apartment building on Sedgwick Avenue, where DJ Kool Herc first disk jockeyed beside an emcee and lots of hardworking people lived, we stopped them,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “I’m proud to honor Hip-Hop’s history and its lasting influence with this Senate resolution, which acknowledges the evolution of Hip-Hop culture and the tremendous impact it has had on our society and across the globe.” 

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT 

“Music is the divine art. A universal language that has the unique ability to bring people from all walks of life together,” said James Samuel “Jimmy Jam” Harris, III, Grammy award-winning songwriter and record producer. “We may all be from different streets but as soon as that beat comes on we all nod our heads in commonality. The effect Hip-Hop has had on the world has been tremendous, and its influence has seeped into the very fabric of our culture. No matter where you are, who you are, or what you’re going through – anyone can find their story through Hip-Hop. As my partner Terry Lewis and I celebrate our 50 years together, we are honored to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip- Hop, and we look forward to witnessing how it continues to unite us into the next half century.”

“Hip-Hop is more than a musical style—it’s a global movement that has shaped culture and provided a voice for generations. The Recording Academy is grateful that Congress is championing the genre and memorializing its 50th anniversary this August 11. Hip-Hop’s impact on society is undeniable, and this official celebration is incredibly deserved,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO, the Recording Academy®

“We’re proud to join Rep. Kamlager-Dove in honoring the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop – a genre and movement that has transformed music, culture, and the world at large. Helping artists reach new audiences and break new talent have been guiding principles for Spotify since our start – and fans continue to support the genre, making playlists like RapCaviar one of the most followed playlists in the world. We’ll continue working to help this US-born genre reach more and more listeners worldwide, and help further the movement well beyond another fifty years,” said Sulinna Ong, Spotify Global Head of Editorial

“Amazon is proud to endorse this resolution in celebration of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary,” said Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy, Amazon. “Hip-Hop continues to break barriers and redefine culture beyond music. We honor its legacy and the artists who created and contribute to the genre.” 

“DiMA and its members join Representative Kamlager-Dove and the other resolution sponsors in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop. Over the past half century, Hip-Hop has become a shining example of the power of music to tell vital stories, connect people both locally and globally, and drive and shape culture. From its earliest roots in the Bronx, this American-born music is now a global creative and cultural phenomenon. As Hip-Hop marks its golden anniversary, fans in the United States and around the world can celebrate by accessing their favorite old school MCs or finding the newest innovators on our members’ platforms. We’re proud to be able to share Hip-Hop’s enduring legacy and look forward to the next 50 years,” said Garrett Levin, President and CEO, Digital Media Association (DiMA)

“Hip-Hop was born out of the cultural exchange between Black, Latinx and Caribbean youth in the South Bronx in 1973, and it is still fresh and exciting 50 years later. This Congressional Resolution is an important moment for the genre which has served as a creative form of expression for those who are historically overlooked and marginalized, and profoundly influences culture and politics globally,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus. 

“Today, the Hip-Politics organization stands with Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove and the entire United States Congress united in recognizing August 11, 2023, as the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, a momentous occasion that not only commemorates a cultural phenomenon but also celebrates the invaluable contributions of this art form in shaping American history. In American history, Hip-Hop’s profound impact is evident in its unwavering commitment to addressing pressing issues such as racism, environmental justice, police brutality, education, healthcare, and voting rights. By acknowledging this milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering spaces for artistic expression, preserving cultural heritage, and championing the causes that unite us as a nation and as global citizens,” said Cameron Trimble, Founder, Hip-Politics. 

Hip-Hop was born in the Bronx in New York 50 years ago on August 11, 1973, when Clive ‘‘DJ Kool Herc’’ and his sister Cindy Campbell threw a ‘‘Back to School Jam.” The blend of jazz, gospel, and blues became a unique genre and a one-of-a-kind part of the American soundtrack. 

The resolution is cosponsored by Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Congressman Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07), Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05) Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) Congressman Jared Moskowitz (FL-23), Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), Congressman Andre Carson (IN-07), Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04), Congresswoman Shontel Brown (OH-11), Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Congressman Don Davis (NC-01), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12). 

The resolution is endorsed by Amazon, Hip Hop Caucus, Spotify, Apple, the Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy, the Recording Academy®, RIAA, SESAC, Universal Music Group, Hip- Politics, and DiMA. 

Click here to read the resolution. 

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.

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