Bronx, NY – Public Enemy luminary Chuck D has been appointed the Chairman of the Celebrity Board for the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx. According to a press release, Director of the UHHM Rocky Bucano and Chairman of the Board Kurtis Blow announced the news on Wednesday (December 19).
Chuck got involved to hopefully bring some more structure to not only the museum itself but also to the culture.
“I always like to make comparisons to sports,” he tells HipHopDX. “It’s very organized and I think music to a large degree isn’t. We are infantile. It’s necessary for the museum to exist. All we have to do is go to a kindergarten or 1st grade classroom and see how organized it is. We can’t be amazed that it’s the way it should be. If you look at Hip Hop, it’s less organized than a kindergarten class. When you go to a super market, you’re not going to buy food from there if things are unorganized. It’s like, ‘Who curated this?’ We’ve been treatin’ Hip Hop like a thing that just happens and we accept it.
“When I knew Rocky was putting together the museum, I said we’ve been asking for this thing for years. I’m a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and I’ve worked with the Smithsonian. I look at these organized efforts and I’m saying in Hip Hop, we kinda need to grow up. Being on this board is like building to attract people’s attention and possibly funding to go further. In the social, bling bling sort of genre, hopefully my attention will make these people that claim to have that kind of money to be accountable.”
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Historically, Public Enemy has always stood for something — whether it’s speaking out about corruption, police brutality or racism, Chuck has never rapped about money and materialism the way other rappers often do. To him, “Hip Hop has always been a struggle.”
“When I see people buy a $250,000 grill, that’s something else. That’s not Hip Hop to me,” he says with a laugh. “If that ends up being news, I’m not gonna be mad at it. I understand it. The problem is that person that calls themselves a journalist and writes about that, that’s a disservice to the culture.
“There are so many people doing so many great things. When it turns from the spectacular to a spectacle, that concerns me. We got Hip Hop artists entering their 60s soon and nobody is talking about health care in Hip Hop. It’s a very real thing for somebody over 40. As Hip Hop matures and goes into this age, when do we grow up? This is something we gotta pay attention to.”
The UHHM will break ground in 2019 and plans to open in 2022. As stated in the press release, its goal is to “celebrate and preserve the history of local and global Hip Hop music and culture past, present and future.”
Blow, who Chuck always refers to as “Hip Hop’s first true shining star,” is looking forward to having Chuck on board.
“The credibility he brings to our team is mammoth,” Blow says in the press release. “He also understands the importance of the UHHM and vows to let the world know via a star-studded celebrity board in the near future. Flame on!”