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Grant number like: GE-50358-11

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Museum for African Art (Long Island City, NY 10029-8405)
Lisa Binder (Project Director: August 2010 to August 2012)

America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants
Public Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2011 – 6/30/2012

Highlife to Hiplife

Planning for a multimedia traveling exhibition examining the musical, visual, and socio-cultural aspects of hip hop in Africa.

MAA requests a $75,000 Planning Grant from NEH to support the planning of the multidisciplinary exhibition "HIGHLIFE TO HIPLIFE: Hip Hop in Africa," which will examine the role of African hip-hop as a social/performance genre in urban African communities. Hiplife music combines hip hop musical techniques and rap lyricism with older African forms of highlife popular music, a jazzy sound prevalent in West African countries since the 1920's. Many younger African musicians who originally performed highlife music have adopted the hip hop genre as a platform for youth empowerment and an agent for social activism. Unlike its rap counterpart in America, hip hop in Africa is not part of a marginal culture, it is omnipresent. Drawing on traditional expressive forms (beats, rhythms, rhymes), hip hop in Africa links youth with their traditional cultural identity and also with global youth movements. Audiences will learn that hip hop can deliver inspirational messages of strength and unity.