SVSU’s Marshall M Fredericks Sculpture Museum is hosting a Hip-Hop films speaker series to celebrate Black History Month.
Megan McAdow, the director of the museum, said the speaker series and exhibit were inspired by last year’s partnership with the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“A couple years ago, some of the students working in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs came to the museum and asked if we wanted to partner on Black History Month,” she said. “Last year we did our first partnership with an exhibition called ‘Hateful Things,’ and it was awesome.”
The idea for hip hop came about during planning for a second collaboration and had a good response, she said.
“Everyone loved the idea and we found Dr. Khalid el-Hakim out of Detroit, who has the Black History 101 Mobile Museum,” McAdow said. “He has been collecting objects relating to Black History, including hip hop, for over 30 years.”
McAdow said el-Hakim had so many objects that he could produce an exhibit for the museum specifically regarding hip-hop. He also has connections to many people in the hip hop industry and helped organize the speakers.
The process to getting rights to show movies was long and expensive, McAdow said, but the museum worked with el-Hakim to choose the most impactful ones to show.
The movie shown on Feb. 11 was “8 Mile,” a movie about Eminem and the hip-hop culture in Detroit. This was the second installment of the series.
Detroit artists Supa Emcee and Miz Korona were featured in the movie and attended as speakers for the event. They talked about how the movie had a big impact on hip hop and battle rap.
“It was amazing to do the film,” Miz Korona
said. “It was something that I always aspired to do; I wanted to be an all-around entertainer. Being in a film with the biggest artist at that time was a great opportunity.”
She said being able to bring her mother on set helped her to share her dream.
“Growing up in hip-hop and wanting to do art, your parents don’t necessarily get that dream,” Miz Korona said. “It was amazing to have her see my dream in action.”
Supa Emcee said working on the movie was a great experience.
“This movie was a ball of fun to be able to be around the people that you came up with in the game and be in a play and see this play turn into something extravagant and something big,” he said. “We grew up around these artists; they’re like family.”
He explained that the movie was pivotal to Detroit artists like himself.
“To see something like this and today we’re celebrating and talking about it shows it had an impact in pop culture [and in] not only the cities around us but the world,” he said.
They talked about how the re-creation in the movie was very realistic. The rap battles and struggles represented the actual struggles of upcoming artists, especially in Detroit.
“A lot of people came from bad situations and battled like that,” Supa Emcee said. “It strengthened friendships and broke them. It sharpened us. You have to be sharp to get respect and to get somewhere. It’s always going to be competitive. Artists respect great artists.”
He said being in the industry of hip hop requires competition.
“The movie shows competitiveness in the street form and in the art form,” he said. “Things in your life prompt you to be a competitor. You take the fuel from your real life and it pushes your art to its pinnacle.”