DJ Spinderella, D Smoke headline Hip-Hop Block Party at Black History Museum

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Hip-Hop Block Party (Part 1)

If you’re driving near the National Mall on Saturday, don’t be surprised if you see a giant block party outside the National Museum of African-American History & Culture.

The Smithsonian museum is hosting its inaugural Hip-Hop Block Party indoors and outdoors on Madison Drive to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its hip-hop anthology.

“We’re so excited about it,” Deirdre Cross, assistant director for public programs, told WTOP. “We have this commanding presence on the block and now we have this really compelling subject: hip-hop and its emergence over the last 50 years.”

The free event is near capacity, but you can also livestream the performances.

“We’re currently full, but as events are free, sometimes there is some attrition, so if you’re downtown on the mall and interested in what’s going on at the museum Saturday, hip-hop, being outside, having a wonderful time in a great setting, please join us.”

The daytime session runs from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, including hip-hop dance workshops in the museum’s Heritage Hall by the nonprofit troupe Culture Shock D.C., a “wonderful teen dance group that looks at the intersection of hip-hop and dance,” Cross said.

“We have something for every age group, multiple audiences, including families with children; one of the big attractions is the Alphabet Rockers,” Cross said. You’ll also see a DMV Showcase by DJ Heat featuring O-Slice, Phuzz, Nia Dinero, and Yung Manny, as well as DJ sets by Mumu Fresh and J.PERIOD, who will perform “four 15-minute sets throughout the afternoon.”

The museum will then close briefly and reopen for the evening session from 6 p.m. to midnight, including the J.PERIOD Live Mixtape. The event will feature The Halluci Nation, “which was once A Tribe Called Red, a fantastic duo of the First Nations group out of Canada,” presented in collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian.

You’ll also see Grammy-nominated rapper D Smoke, who won the Netflix competition “Rhythm & Flow” (2019) and “has roots here, having attended Howard University,” Cross said. It all culminates with a dance party by hip-hop pioneer DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa fame.

“She’s really excited to be with us and be in the setting of the museum,” Cross said.

Sunday also brings the Facebook Live event gOD-Talk 2.0: Hip-Hop & #BlackFaith presented by the museum’s Center for the Study of African-American Religious Life. The livestream production will look “at the intersection of religion and hip-hop,” Cross said.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Hip-Hop Block Party (Part 2)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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