We just made Hip Hop History! In 2008, while working as both acting District Manager of Central Harlem’s Community Board 10 and Co-Executive Director of the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem, I approached Jacob Morris, local historian and street-naming maven of New York City with an idea.
I asked Jacob how we could start the process for naming Sedgwick Avenue in honor of DJ Kool Herc and the now famous birthday party he threw for sister at their apartment on Sedgwick avenue back in 1973. Thus immortalizing what is considered a game changing moment in the annals of New York City Hip Hop history, the birthplace of the music and culture.
Herc, known as one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop, is credited for giving birth to the Hip Hop break beat at his sister Cindy’s birthday party back in 1973. The birthday celebration still takes place every year and in 2008 we hosted one for Cindy and Herc at the former Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem.
There were challenges. The year 2008 was the start of the great recession and the task of getting a local petition drive going in and around Sedgwick Avenue was no small feat. Second, street renamings are mainly reserved for historic figures that have since passed as a way to immortalize their contribution to New York and the world. Kool Herc is still very much alive. But Jacob Morris never gave up, and eight years later I’m proud to announce that the New York City Council voted to approve Sedgwick avenue in the Bronx to be officially co-named HipHop Boulevard.
See you all at the official celebration in August. It’s going to be one heck of a party!