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Hip-hop fans and enthusiasts can rejoice as it was recently announced that $3 million in funds from Congress will be used to finish constructing The Universal Hip-Hop Museum. Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand supports the opening of the museum, which is currently being built in the Bronx. Funding will come from a recently passed omnibus spending bill.
The House approved the spending $1.65 trillion spending bill with a 225 to 201 and cleared in the Senate as well. President Biden will now be tasked with signing the bill into law and ultimately granting a designated portion of funds to building the museum. Senator Gillibrand acknowledged hip-hop’s impact on mainstream culture and highlighted the historical importance of having the museum constructed in the Bronx. While speaking on the museum, Gillibrand stated, “the Bronx has historically been a creative incubator for so many wonderful genres of music, ranging from doo-wop to salsa, but few genres have left a greater mark on mainstream culture than hip-hop music.”
Potential visitors can expect to see the museum finished by 2024 after it initially broke ground in May of 2021. It will be part of the Bronx Point Project which will have 350 units of affordable housing, a theater, public spaces and more. The Universal Hip-Hop Museum plans to honor the genre and its pioneers while also committing to preserving hip-hop’s history. Various elements of hip-hop culture – including emceeing, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti art – will be highlighted throughout the museum.
The concept for the museum came from Rocky Bucano, who is a New York native. Bucano was a DJ and music executive prior to founding the museum. As someone close to the industry, he knew residents of the Bronx would embrace a Hip Hop Museum, so finding a location would be an important factor. Visitors will be able to find the museum at The Kingsbridge Armory, which is located near the home of some of hip-hop’s earliest parties.
Although construction has not been completed, the museum has started a “[R]Evolution of Hip Hop” exhibit. The interactive exhibit takes guests through history using artifacts, multimedia, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented technologies, according to the museum’s website. The Universal Hip-hop Museum is expected to be more than 50,000 square feet once finished.