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Little Rock hip-hop exhibit highlights cultural impact of genre

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock is bringing hip-hop to the metro through a new exhibit.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The mosaic templars cultural center in Little Rock is bringing hip-hop to the metro through a new exhibit.

It's called 'And the Beat Don't Stop- 50 Years of Hip Hop,’ and through a lot of planning, one of mosaics curator's is bringing the 50-year-old genre to life.

THV11 got a little sneak peek to find out what the new exhibit has to offer.

The exhibit is filled with artists actual gold and platinum records, vintage shoes connected to the height of the hip hop style and a lot more.

'And the Beat Don’t Stop' is meant to highlight the cultural impact of hip-hop and get people excited for its anniversary.

"Hip-hop culture, especially in America, you'll see it in the language, in the fashion as well as the music that's produced so it's definitely engrained in our culture,” Courtney Bradford, the hip-hop exhibit Curator said. “I don't think there’s an aspect that's not touched by hip-hop."

That was the driving factor behind starting this exhibit for curator Courtney Bradford. From the moment she set her mind on it, she hit the ground running in research to make sure when people enter the exhibit they're immersed in the genre.

"We're still picking the right music for the exhibit because we want it to be able to have an all-encompassing effect of hip-hop, so what's not physically covered by an artifact will be covered in the music," Bradford said.

Music is what you'll hear, what you'll see however, is best described as vintage; from the shoes, art and stereos.

What also grabs the eye are the dozens of platinum, gold and even diamond plaques that were awarded to hip-hop artists.

So, how did Bradford get her had on these items?

"I ended up with the National Hip-Hop Museum in D.C. and I spoke with Jeremy Beaver who is the founder and I told him about what I wanted to do,” Bradford explained. “So, he decided to pick different things from his collections and through those things together, along with a few other elements, to cover each aspect of the hip-hop culture.”

As Bradford showed off some of the pieces inside of the exhibit you could feel her excitement. Hip-hop to her is liberation and she wants anyone who comes to the exhibit to feel the same.

"A lot of the time, Hip-Hop songs are songs that I choose to wake up to and get me going and so with that, it just takes you to a whole different space and I want people to experience that,” Bradford said.

While the exhibit will feel celebratory of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, Bradford said there's even more to it.

"With us being the only state funded African American history museum here in Arkansas, this exhibit is definitely giving a voice to people who may, in the past, have not had a voice, not seen themselves in museums, or seen themselves represented,” Bradford emphasized. “I really hope they find their representation here."

Bradford says the 'And the Beat Don't Stop' exhibit is totally different from past and permanent exhibits at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. 

It all kicks Thursday, April 7, at 5 p.m. at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and will be open to the public until July 1.


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