Queens native and rapper Q-Tip named Kennedy Center’s artistic director for hip-hop culture

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The St. Albans-bred rapper and co-founder of iconic rap group A Tribe Called Quest has a new title.

Q-Tip, born Jonathan Davis, was named the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ first-ever artistic director for hip-hop on Tuesday. The center, which is located in Washington, D.C., also announced its hip-hop culture series, a roster of programming meant to highlight the genre’s contribution to culture and society.

Q-Tip has said that the Q in his name stands for Queens and he references Linden Boulevard in A Tribe Called Quest’s song “Check the Rhime.” The rapper and record producer attended Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.

New York-based arts and theater group Hi-ARTS collaborated with Q-Tip to curate the programs, which will take place at the Kennedy Center during their 2016-2017 season. The series will begin in June and will feature a break dance competition; a teach-in focusing on developing curriculum, programs and work to promote social change; and an interactive show featuring hip-hop artists remixing “everything from folk tales to classical art,” according to the Kennedy Center website.

On May 23, DJ Spooky will showcase his Rebirth of a Nation project, which is a response to D.W. Griffith’s film “Birth of a Nation.”


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