The [R]Evolution of Hip Hop: An immersive journey through Hip Hop Hisotry is conceived by creative agents from multiple artistic backgrounds that employ archives and experimental storytelling techniques focusing on the five elements of Hip Hop – MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Aerosol Art,
Kurtis Walker (born August 9, 1959), professionally known by his stage name Kurtis Blow, is Hip Hop’s first superstar. He is a trained singer, professional songwriter, record/film producer, b-boy, DJ, public speaker and ordained minister. He is the first commercially successful rapper and the first to sign with a major record label. “The Breaks”, a single from his 1980 self-titled debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song for Hip Hop. Throughout his career he has released 15 albums and is currently tour around the world.
Rocky Bucano is President and Chairman of the Board of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. He is also a licensed financial advisor who specializes in investments, Medicare health plans, estate planning, retirement and insurance. In 1987, Rocky Bucano left his television career behind to launch the Bronx based Strong City Records with Hip Hop icon DJ Jazzy Jay. In 2006, Bucano became the executive director of the Mott Haven Bronx based New York Gauchos Basketball Program. The Gauchos program has placed more than 30 high school students into college on full athletic scholarship and has witnessed three of its former players achieve NBA distinction.
Nana Ashhurst is Chairwoman of the Board for Universal Hip Hop Museum. Nana is the former president of Def Jam Recordings and Rush Communications. A modern-day renaissance woman in her own right, Ashhurst has embraced multiple professions, from the producer of the Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam, to development specialist, minister, philanthropist and activist. Additionally, she was named one of Ebony Magazine’s “One Hundred Most Promising Black Women in Corporate America,” and is the proud recipient of the Black Radio Exclusive President’s Award. Nana has recently retired from Sarah Lawrence College where she was the Major Gifts Officer for the school.
Touched by the consciousness of Hip Hop in 1979, Adam Silverstein has been inspired to preserve and share Hip Hop Kulture through the collection, maintenance and accessibility of artifacts. Silverstein practiced law for 18 years prior to becoming an Advisory Board Member of the Universal Hip Hop Museum and then the Director of Archives & Collections.
Paradise Gray is the Chief Curator and Advisory Board Member of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. He is a Hip-Hop historian and legend from the South Bronx who was mentored by pioneering DJs, and has a collection of Hip Hip artifacts preserved beginning in 1979. He was entertainment manager, booking agent and host of the world-famous Hip Hop club, “The Latin Quarter,” which was the incubator of “The Golden Era of Hip-Hop” from 1986 – 1988. Paradise is an archivist, author, photographer, and produced nine (9) albums including two (2) classic albums with his legendary messenger group “X-Clan.” Paradise worked at RUSH Productions/Def Jam Recordings, and Mp3.com. He helped to develop the world’s first online music company.
Prime Minister Pete Nice was a founding member of the Def Jam Recordings group 3rd Bass and released two gold albums for the label from 1989 to 1992. His career in Hip Hop began in 1985 as a solo MC managed by Lumumba Carson and in 1987 he established the first Hip Hop radio show with DJ Clark Kent on WKCR at Columbia University. In 1992 he founded Hoppoh Recordings and released the albums of Kurious and Count Bass D and also managed the Elektra rap group KMD featuring MF Doom. He has worked as a historian and consultant with artists and collectors dedicated to preserving Hip Hop artifacts and history. He is currently working on a book with Paradise Gray entitled, “The Golden Age of Hip Hop 1983-1992: An Illustrative History.” He is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia College.
SenYon Kelly is the CEO/Founder of Nubian Video Archives & Collectibles. She is an Advisory Board member, Co-Curator of [R]Evolution of Hip-Hop Exhibit and works with the Museum Collections & Archives Committee for the Universal Hip Hop Museum. SenYon, is a native of Los Angeles who developed a love for film and music at an early age. She owns the licensing to the original artwork of Jimi Hendrix, is a serial entrepreneur, investor and curator, with a love for hip hop culture, music, film, art, fashion and interior design. Ms. Kelly has production credits for – Roots: Celebrating 25 Years – NBC and Jewel’s Catch One on Netflix.
Martha Diaz (MD) is a community organizer, media producer, archivist, curator, and educator whose work has traversed the hip-hop entertainment industry, the public arts and education sector, and the academy over the last 25 years. MD has consulted on numerous hip-hop documentaries and founded the highly acclaimed Hip-Hop Odyssey (H2O) International Film Festival, the first and largest festival of its kind. She curated the first Hip-Hop movie series presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as a guest curator at the Museum of the Moving Image. In 2010, MD formed the Hip-Hop Education Center at NYU to formalize the field of hip-hop-based education. A graduate of New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program, MD has worked on archival projects with Parkwood Entertainment (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter), Tupac Shakur Estate, and National Jazz Museum in Harlem, to name a few.
Urban artist, Hip Hop historian, videographer, DJ and social justice activist JORGE “POPMASTER FABEL” PABON was born and raised in NYC’s Spanish Harlem, where at an early age he developed his dance and choreography career at Hip Hop jams and clubs throughout the city. His pioneering individuality has been showcased internationally since 1982. Fabel also gained world renown as a featured dancer in the Hip Hop cult classic movie, “Beat Street.” A senior member of the Rock Steady Crew and member of the Electric Boogaloos, Fabel is also co-founder of GhettOriginal Productions Inc. With GhettOriginal, Fabel co-authored, co-directed, and co-choreographed the first two Hip Hop musicals ever, “So! What Happens Now?” and “Jam on the Groove” (first official Off-Broadway Hip Hop musical). Fabel is the co-founder of Tools Of War© which is an organization that represents the grassroots essence and brought Hip Hop culture back to the parks of New York City for the past 14 years. As an adjunct professor, he teaches Hip Hop dance/movement in the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. Fabel presents lectures, demonstrations, teaches master classes, and participates in outreach programs and conferences internationally. Fabel is currently a master teacher and national reviewer for the National YoungArts Foundation.
Shawn “Cutman LG” Thomas is the Executive and Founding Member of Universal Hip Hop Museum.
He brings his skills as former on-air personality at HOT 97, as a DJ and providing Music Programming for the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop Exhibit.
Charlie Ahearn a New York native is a film director and creative cultural artist. Known for writing and directing the hip hop classic movie Wild Style. Although predominantly involved in film and video production, he is also known for his work as an author, freelance writer, member of Colab,
and radio host.
Through writings, film & television productions and talent bookings, Michael Holman helped propel Hip Hop onto the global stage. Holman managed Rock Steady Crew and The New York City Breakers and created and hosted the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop television show Graffiti Rock.
Holman formed the band Gray with Jean-Michel Basquiat and wrote the screenplay to the Marimax feature film, Basquiat.
Holman taught filmmaking and media courses at Howard University, The New School, the School of Visual Arts and Pace University.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts acquired Holman’s Archive and the Smithsonian African American Museum acquired choice Holman artifacts.
Sal Abbatiello is a native New Yorker, actor, producer, and Founder of Fever Records. His club Disco Fever served as a stage for up and coming hip hop artists to showcase their talents in the 1980s. Sal also credits as producer of the hip hop classic film Krush Groove which debut in 1985
Joe Conzo, Jr, co-author of Born in the Bronx, has been documenting the people of his native borough since the 1970s. As the first graduating class of South Bronx High School, Conzo came up as the official photographer for the Cold Crush Brothers at the dawn of Hip Hop. From the school gymnasiums to the local Police Athletic League, Conzo documented the first generation of DJs and MCs as they invented an art form that brought the creativity of the streets to the world. Joe Conzo Jr. continues to lecture, meet with young people, exhibit his work, and attend international events.