Q-Tip becomes the Kennedy Center’s first ever hip hop artistic director

The legendary rapper wants to deepen the world's knowledge of rap music.

Introducing the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council—a new program from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts which will be helmed by its inaugural artistic director and advisor-at-large, legendary rapper Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest.

The council will also include other legendary hip hop heavyweights such as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Bobbito García a.k.a Kool Bob Love, Common, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Caz, Grant Hill, J.PERIOD, Jason King, Kierna Mayo, Large Professor, LL COOL J, MC Lyte, Mimi Valdés, Pharoahe Monch, Robert Glasper, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Xavier “X” Jernigan, and 9th Wonder.

Q-Tip explained that the council collective “reflects the creative, social, and intellectual wealth of the Hip-Hop community. The members are the embodiment of what we stand for and all that we aspire to achieve with the Hip Hop Culture program.”

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 In a video published by The Kennedy Center introducing the council, Q-Tip explains that “you can’t run [hip-hop] by yourself; you need people you can dialogue, exchange, and build with…and that can be said for pretty much any kind of industry.”

“We selected people who thrive for excellence, have achieved excellence, and who desires it — not just for themselves — but for people, at large,” he says. “It’s just a must to have that, especially when we’re in this creative realm of trying to put together great programming in an esteemed house like The Kennedy Center.”

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According to the center, the intention for the council is to “create new pathways and deepen public knowledge of Hip Hop, contribute to broader Center-wide initiatives, and strengthen the burgeoning Hip Hop Culture program at the Kennedy Center.”

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Here’s a message from Q-Tip: