MMFM celebrates Black History Month with hip-hop

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum has a virtual 360 viewing of the Hip Hop Icons exhibit, brought from Khalid el-Hakim’s Black History 101 Mobile Museum. It can be found at the museum website. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

The Marshall M. Fredericks Museum is celebrating Black History Month with the exhibition “Hip Hop Icons.” The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 27.

The exhibit contains over 150 historical hip- hop pieces, including memorabilia for hip-hop icons, movies and the culture in general.

Andrea Ondish, the curator of education at the MMFM, said the centerpiece of the exhibit is the Hip Hop Icons movie posters featuring some of the most significant and impactful films on hip-hop culture.

“Hip Hop Icons provides a unique opportunity to experience the depth and breadth of hip-hop culture through rare primary source material showing a wide variety of ways hip hop has made an impact on popular culture,” Ondish said. “The exhibition objects reflect the contributions of some of the greatest hip hop icons not only in the world, but also inclusive of Michigan stateside icons.”

The exhibit comes from the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, which was founded by Khalid el-Hakim.

“The Black History 101 Mobile Museum is a collection of over 10,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia that dates from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to Hip Hop Culture,” Ondish said. “For 26 years, the museum has welcomed thousands of diverse visitors, making stops in 40 states at over 500 college campuses, K-12 schools, libraries, corporations, museums, religious institutions and conferences.”

Ondish said el-Hakim was an entrepreneur

on Detroit’s hip-hop scene from the late 90s to the mid 2000s. He worked as a booking agent, promoter and manger. Most notably, el-Hakim worked with Proof of D12 as co-label owner of Iron Fist Records.

“The artifacts come from the personal collection of el-Hakim, who is celebrating his 30th anniversary of collecting Black memorabilia, which developed into the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, the most traversed Black history in America,” Ondish said.

She said she hopes those who check out the exhibit will understand how embedded hip- hop culture is in American culture.

“The Hip Hop Icons exhibition celebrates fashion, slang, music, visual art, expression, literature, movement and more,” Ondish said. “Seeing films, hearing music, seeing the visual arts today, we see hip-hop influences everywhere. … You experience it and don’t even realize it. Seeing this exhibition makes you realize it, understand it and live it.”

Ondish said the museum staff has worked hard to make the exhibit accessible to everyone by creating a virtual option to experience the exhibit.

“The Museum is open for in-person viewing to the university community, and arrangements can be made to view it for groups and walk-in visits,” she said. “Guided virtual tours and field trips of the exhibition are available to the public and can be scheduled by contacting the museum.”

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