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ITHACA, N.Y.– DJ Afrika Bambaataa – a founding father of hip-hop, pioneer of electro-funk and a cultural leader and role model for youth for more than 40 years — will mark his final visit to Cornell in his role as a visiting scholar with two public events on Oct. 26 and 27.
Bambaataa will also be meeting with several classes, completing the three-year appointment made by Cornell University Library’s Hip Hop Collection in conjunction with the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Music in 2012.
“Many people know that Bambaataa is one of the most important originators of hip-hop culture. The general public may be less aware that Bam is also the founder of the legendary Universal Zulu Nation, the world’s oldest and most globally widespread hip-hop cultural organization, which celebrates its 42nd anniversary next month,” said Assistant Curator Ben Ortiz. “In this role, Bam has been a community leader and role model for youth empowerment for more than four decades. We hope to highlight this aspect of his legacy during this visit.”
On Oct. 26, from 7 to 10 p.m., Bambaataa will appear at Cinemapolis for a screening of the movie “Rubble Kings” — a documentary about 1970s gangs in New York City. Following the movie, Bambaataa will participate in a discussion with the movie’s director, Shan Nicholson; legendary Bronx activist Lorraine Montenegro; and Ithaca City School District superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown.
On Oct. 27, also from 7 to 10 p.m., he will appear at a screening of “Stretch and Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives,” and introduce a discussion featuring Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, moderated by DJ Rich Medina ‘92.
The recently released movie tells the story of the late-night radio duo who introduced their audience to future superstars, then little-known, including Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, Biggie Smalls, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Bambaataa, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is widely known as the godfather of hip-hop. His appointment as a visiting scholar was the first such university distinction for a founder of hip-hop, which he helped to expand from a 1970s South Bronx grassroots community movement to a global phenomenon.
Over the past three years, Bambaataa has visited with classes at both Cornell and Ithaca College, met with student and community groups, and shared with audiences the music he helped to create and popularize.
Cornell University Library is home to the world’s largest archive on hip-hop culture, documenting its birth and growth by preserving thousands of sound recordings, flyers, photographs, videos, and other artifacts.
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