The Postal Service dedicated its Hip Hop stamps last week during a virtual ceremony that focused on the music, dance and art movement’s profound cultural influence.
The nine-minute event featured hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow, who recalled the movement’s electrifying origins in African American and African Caribbean neighborhoods in New York City during the 1970s.
“As quick as it was born, it evolved, quickly moving from the streets to the recording studio and onto radio,” Blow said. “And as it did, the powerful critiques of issues like racism, poverty and police brutality [that] it raised found new audiences far beyond black communities.”
Other speakers included Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, who discussed the four elements of hip-hop showcased on the stamps: rapping, DJing, break dancing and graffiti art.
“It is important to note that socially conscious community leaders and artists have dedicated their energy to educating and preserving these four elements of hip-hop,” Barksdale said.
The pane of 20 stamps — available at Post Offices and usps.com — highlights each of the hip-hop elements in four designs accented by a vivid yellow, green, red and black color scheme. The digitally tinted images are intended to appear in motion.
A recording of the ceremony can be viewed on Facebook and Twitter. Employees who are unable to stream video from external sites on postal computers can use a personal smartphone, tablet or other device to watch the event off the clock.
The ceremony also featured remarks from Rocky Bucano, executive director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is slated to open in the Bronx, NY, in 2023 and will preserve the history of local and global hip-hop music and culture.
Said Blow: “There’s no doubt that hip-hop culture is here to stay. History will continue to be made — new fans will embrace the culture and with it will hopefully come a greater appreciation of the impact hip-hop has had on the world.”
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