‘Uncle’ Ralph McDaniels to oversee hip-hop initiatives at Queens Library

By Madina Toure

Legendary DJ, VJ and music-video director “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels has been appointed the Queens Library’s first hip-hop coordinator as part of an attempt by the library to build stronger relationships with the hip-hop community in light of Hip Hop History Month..

McDaniels will be working to preserve hip-hop history and create archival library collections as well as coordinating related programs and events of cultural interest to the borough, the library announced. That work will be conducted with an eye toward attracting young people to the library.

The library kicked off its initiative to preserve and celebrate the borough’s hip-hop heritage last year.

A Brooklyn native who grew up in Hollis, McDaniels graduated from Bayside High School and studied film and television production at the New York Institute of Technology.

He is known for introducing hip-hop to video, having founded the television program “Video Music Box with Lionel Martin” in 1983.

The most successful hip-hop artists came from Queens and the genre grew out of the borough’s jazz legacy, McDaniels said.

“The elements of hip-hop include MC’ing, DJ’ing, writing/aerosol art, b-boying (dance) and knowledge,” he said. “Queens Library can help move that forward locally, nationally and internationally.”

Queens Library Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said hip-hop is a key part of Queens’ musical and cultural heritage and that music is a “living, breathing way” to connect with the community and attract new library users.

“There’s no one better to work with us on building library programs and collections based on hip-hop than Ralph McDaniels,” Quinn-Carey said. “He is a media pioneer and was an eyewitness to its birth.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a week of special programs at the library that celebrated the culture, history and impact of hip-hop.

Keith Perrin, the co-founder of FUBU, a clothing and hip-hop company, discussed how the company became successful at an event called “The History of FUBU with Keith Perrin” Nov. 16 at the Queens Library at South Hollis, and in the Nov. 19 discussion “Hip-Hop Behind the Lens with Ken Harris,” Harris, discussed photographs from his collection at the Queens Library at Rochdale Village.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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