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The 'Burg celebrates 50 years of hip-hop

James Coors '27

Apr 12, 2024

On Friday, April 5, Mercersburg celebrated the 50th anniversary of the hip-hop genre. The Black Student Union and Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sponsored a large Y2K-themed dance party with music, snacks, and trivia prizes of food at the True Blue Cafe. Acting DEI Director Jamar Galbreath said, “Lots of planning meetings with the BSU happened but in the end with their help it came together smoothly.” One of the students in attendance, Bryson Brown ‘24 said, “This is a cool way to bring the student body together and for everyone to have fun”

This was not the only way that Mercersburg recognized the anniversary. Director of Dance Kelsey Rupp said, “Our Dance Program's celebration of the 50th Anniversary of hip-hop will be interspersed in the Spring Dance Concert on May 11, but we were also able to perform Neal Carter's [choreographed] piece at Spoken Word to help close out the DEI's weekend of hip-hop celebrations. I love that multiple facets of our Mercersburg community have shined a light on the 50th anniversary of hip hop, but also that our students have had the opportunity to learn about a history that they may not realize is so influential and ingrained in their lives.”  Our celebration of this milestone recognizes how influential hip-hop has become in American and even world culture. “When I started the 2023-2024 season I knew my focus for the Dance Program was to acknowledge and celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop through our guest artist and performance programming due to the cultural influence hip-hop has had on every aspect of the field,” said Rupp. Just recently, the famed Julliard School added hip-hop to its dance curriculum.

This is a large milestone for the hip-hop community for many reasons, as a developing art form it continues to change, but we are still close to its roots. Galbreath explained, “Hip-hop is much more than music and culture as it started at a party much like ours and has since grown into a global culture, it is also still quite a young culture despite being so monumental which is why it is so unique to celebrate.” The culture especially affects students at Mercersburg because we have such a diverse community. Rupp said, “Students should understand the music they choose to listen to, the clothing they choose to wear, the art they choose to create, and the slang they choose to speak, all have been influenced by hip-hop culture and subcultures in some way, shape, or form. When we think about 50 years of hip-hop, that isn't that long of a time! Hip-hop history is modern world history and the students have lived through almost two decades of it!”

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