Public Enemy’s Chuck D has been named chairman of the forthcoming Universal Hip Hop Museum’s celebrity board, Billboard reports. The museum, whose mission “celebrates and preserves the history of local and global hip-hop music and culture to inspire, empower and promote understanding,” is slated to break ground in the Bronx next year with a projected opening in 2022.
“The credibility he brings to our team is mammoth,” museum chairman of the board Kurtis Blow said. “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!”
“Hip-hop is possibly the last remaining DIY genre, and we need to bring it up to speed in its administration. I’ll hopefully be a magnet for others to offer their services and help build the museum into a vital space,” Chuck D explained of his desire to be involved in UHHM. “The museum will be a solid base of recognition of the past. But it will also be involved in hip-hop’s [ongoing] definition, protecting it and making it viable for the future. The celebrity board’s role will be that of a collective with the energy of many helping to propel hip-hop well into the 21st century.”
The UHHM will occupy two floors of the new Bronx Point development space, located in the South Bronx. According to Blow and the museum director Rocky Bucano, they recently secured $20 million in initial funding for the museum, which will help with construction and the core building.
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“Then we have to raise roughly another $50 million over the next several years to fund everything else,” Bucano said, adding that they’re contacting companies and corporate entities and labels “that have embraced and benefitted from the hip hop culture” for additional funding. “We’re currently asking for donations of artifacts that rep the culture as well that will be warehoused” until UHHM opens, he said.
The UHHM will house digital and virtual exhibits that incorporate the principles of DJing, MCing, breaking, visual arts and knowledge. In addition to Blow, Bucano and Chuck D’s involvement, UHMM cultural ambassadors include Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy.