UHHM Makes Los Angeles The First Stop on Their Hip Hop Road Show
The Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) is slated to open in Bronx Point in 2024 with intentions of being the domain for audiences, artists, and technology to converge and create unparalleled educational and entertainment pieces.
Anchored in the birthplace of Hip Hop culture, this museum is already working to, both, celebrate and preserve the history of global and local culture centered around the genre’s past, present, and future.
In an interview with UHHM Executive Director Rocky Bucano, he discussed how this project came about almost 12 years ago as an opportunity to develop a piece of property, Kingsbridge Armory, one of the world’s largest armory’s that the city owned.
“[Our] first attempt didn’t work, but after several trips to different locations around the Bronx, we finally teamed up with our current real estate developers, leading us to create the type of projects to create what’s being built now,” Bucano said.
The UHHM will be a 53,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art museum dedicated to Hip Hop history, music, and culture.
“This project is a long time in the making,” said Bucano, “but we’re just so happy that the city and the state of New York are fully committed to this project. It’s beautiful to be able to build a museum for Hip Hop that’s being built from scratch.”
The UHHM is being built from the ground up, giving Bucano and his team the ability to make sure that they’re building one of the “most sophisticated technology enabled cultural institutions in the world.”
And all of this is for the love of Hip Hop history and culture. UHHM has teamed up with Microsoft, a partner of their, to ensure this museum is one of the most tech-centered global attractions in New York City.
The two companies’ relationship started in 2017, during a series of design and envisioning sessions for the museum.
“Los Angeles was the first city we had that tour. Five years later, we’re almost finished with construction, and we want to go back to the cities from our last tour and give everyone an update on the status of the museum’s progress,” shared the executive director.
To jumpstart BET Weekend, the UHHM is kicking off a private, industry-only event at the Peterson Automotive Museum, “Hip Hop Roadshow” in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 23, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
UHHM’s Hip Hop Road Show will recognize the significant contributions of West Coast artist, with special recognitions attributed to Easy E (posthumously) and Ruthless Records, Death Row Records, Kid Frost, DJ Battle Cat, Yo-Yo, Spice 1, and Arabian Prince for their contributions to Hip Hop culture.
The show will also include an overview of Hip-Hop history and discussions on how to best curate exhibits that accurately reflect the rich history of the West Coast.
Bucano voiced that “the West Coast played such a significant role in the global evolution of Hip Hop. We want to make sure that, when we come out, that people understand that this is a museum for all. We are called the Universal Hip Hop Museum because we’re curating the global history of Hip Hop.”
Hip Hop was originally centered around the principles of peace, unity, love and having fun, however overtime has become a voice of the voiceless, empowering communities of color to use its music as a force of inspiration. Bucano is enthused to see how POCs from all areas will attract to UHHM.
“Hip Hop has always been a source of inspiration and empowerment for people who live in marginalized communities everywhere, not just in America. Whether you go to Africa, Europe or Asia, Hip Hop is being used in all different forms—art, education, or just creative expression.”
Bucano continued with, “Hip Hop brings people together, the culture provides unity. It unifies people to really speak truth to power.”
The executive director also spoke on the importance of youth within this culture, whom he said “make it develop and grow.” He is excited that through the recognition of the Road Show’s nominees, both during the event and in the museum, that their legacies will be passed on and appreciated.
“We want children, 300 and 400 years from now, to come to this museum and have an understanding of who the practitioners were that created this culture, as well as know who’s responsible for making sure this culture continued to live and thrive for so many years,” he shared.
“Hip Hop is more than just the music you hear on the radio, or see on television. It’s a true culture. Without some level of understanding, people would not know how it started, who started it, why it’s so important, and what it attributes to the world. Without understanding no one would have an idea of how beautiful this culture actually is,” said Rocky Bucano.
The Universal Hip Hop Museum is set to open in 2024. Until then, they are working to host several events to get people excited for it’s opening and the beauty of Hip Hop culture. Their “[R]Evolution of Hip Hop” exhibit, the “Golden Era” 1986-1990 opens June 28. Tickets can be purchased at uhhm.org. They’re also rolling out a traveling exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop at the end of the year.
“I’m just excited that Hip Hop finally has a place to call home,” said Rocky Bucano. “And it’s the Universal Hip Hop Musuem.”