VISUAL DOPE: Under The Influence
If you had attended the Under The Influence art exhibit on night two of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, you would have likely been enlighted by an onslaught of visual arts inspired by hip hop culture and music.
You would have been exposed to photographs by Brooklyn’s Jamel Shabazz, whose classic photojournalism book Back in the Days, which published much of his celebrated documenting of early hip hop, recently celebrated its ten year anniversary with the release of Back In The Days Remix.
You might have been able to get a sense as to how extremely important an event this is.
It is well established that hip hop culture extends way beyond the music in videos and on radio, and has a vibrant past, present and future serving as a major influence on many aspects of creativity.
But since the music is the commodity, the documentation of the birth, growth and maturity of an entire sub-culture suffers, often being cast aside simply because there is less to gain financially.
Thankfully, those who realize hip hop’s sociological impact, know that the visual art aspect, the self-documentation and the unadulterated self-expression, from graffiti to photojournalism, to artwork and sculptures, are valued treasures, requiring events like these to ensure that these less-lucrative, but foundationally important aspects of hip hop, are never related to obscurity.
While it took the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival until its 7th year to incorporate this aspect of hip hop culture into their programming, the inspiring and well-received exhibit was perfect for the artistic-minded fan of hip hop or the hip hop minded fan of art.