Risk Some Soul
Fortunately the Smithsonian took the other diary
Blackalicious - "Smithzonian Institute Of Rhyme" f/ Lateef the Truth Speaker (mp3)
Hey World, sorry for pumping the brakes back there. Lots happening in the next couple months: Lovely Days are on the horizon, as well as Dark Days; following Zen, I'm trying to pen some words for these bad boys; and, somewhere along the way, I wound up back here.
Sum? Lots of goodness, but no excuse for slack. Onward forward to blogging!
Once again, DC connection put this under my nose. Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is embarking on a project to collect and arrange a holistic exhibition on hip hop. You heard this, Changa? 'swhy I'm still gunning for your hip hop museum to do this in a big way.
The project's aspirations bare understandable similarity to its precedents -- EMP's Yes, Yes Y'All and the Brooklyn Museum's (then Brooklyn Museum of Art) 2000 exhibition "Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes & Rage" -- mostly collecting artifacts, such as MC Lyte's diary (I suppose inquiring minds can finally find out who she was trying to cram to understand).
I suppose from a purely anthropological perspective, this is another welcome effort. However, I always wonder what Joe/Jane Public is supposed to glean from looking at Melle Mel's leather duds. Discussing vibrant and live culture within four walls and glass cases just seems so... misminded. Remember that Chappelle joke about taking a limo ride through the PJ's? It's like cherry-picking a culture. Not that it's a dishonest or malicious move -- it is simply a 'lab condition' experience, too fresh and too clean, and certainly not the most in-depth or interactive approach.
Granted, for a fixed organization such as the Smithsonian to shed some light on a contemporary culture is a bold move in and of itself. And their site indicates they'll troll out the artists and community for input, so we'll see where this exhibition heads.
In an odd twist, I actually hope the Smithsonian (and other museums that wish to embark on this road in the future) takes a cue from the corporates. I got to thinking about how effective Ecko's block party was, because the audience could not only watch simulations of graffers, but also interact with them. Let the people play, I say. But imagine that: Tagging mock cars along the Nat'l Mall? A block party with kids poppin' to doubles of "Walk Into the Sunshine" under the May sun? Embrace the chaos, 'live with a little risk?'