Perception is the opinion that is formed based on simple sight and assumption. Rarely is there a true understanding developed based on those assumptions and that can lead to rabid misunderstandings. Unfortunately, this travesty has befallen the Hip Hop community in more ways than one. The mainstream community seems to have a strong opinion on the Hip Hop culture even if their information is grossly mistaken. That is where the Curators of Hip Hop come in; with a mission to change that perception based on the truth within the culture.
The brain child of three graduates from Florida A&M University, “Curators of Hip Hop” is a project that is truly going to change the face of the Hip Hop industry. Unlike the other shows that have risen in popularity while being ingrained in the industry, the “Curators of Hip Hop,” is working to change that.
Jimmie Thomas, Jermaine Fletcher and A’sia Horne Smith are the three talented minds behind this project. Their connections in college helped formed the partnership that brought this project to fruition.
“In college I produced two television shows with my partner Jermaine and talented young lady who was also in journalism school with us,” Jimmie explained. “It has always been our goal to get the show on TV. We collaborated on several projects in college and always wanted to combat the stereotypes or “ratchness” in the industry today.”
Their combined efforts brought forth the “Curators of Hip Hop” which is a documentary style video series that will chronicle the rise of new personalities within the industry. Along the lines of a museum curator, these individuals are working hard to document the growth of Hip Hop beyond what is seen on television and talked about via the radio or social media outlets.
“In the beginning, the focus was centered around the idea of Hip Hop in rare places,” said Jermaine. “The idea has evolved more to the preservation and sharing of Hip Hop culture in both rare and common places. We are the gatekeepers and simply want to build our archive for the world to embrace the same way you can walk into the Smithsonian and walk out after taking a peek at the world.”
To get a better idea of the project as a whole, one must first learn about the minds behind the “Curators of Hip Hop.” Even before being brought together in college, Jermaine was engrossed in music at the age of seven before transitioning to producing while a teenager. The video and film work came into play while attending FAMU and has led to opportunities which include time spent at ESPN, CBS, Bloomberg and MTV-U.
On the other hand, Jimmie is more of the producer type mind behind the project. His breakthrough came while working on projects for the university which allowed him to make bigger connections down the line. Doing so allowed him to set up great interviews for some of the shows which he has worked on in the past. All of this experience has translated into this project.
Since it’s inception the “Curators of Hip Hop” have had the opportunity to work with a long list of promising personalities in the music industry. What’s interesting is that these individuals aren’t just sitting around and telling the producers about their lives as artists. Instead, this is becoming more of a story session between friends as they talk about their life in the ever growing limelight.
“We’re catching up with an artist in an environment that they are comfortable in and we just have a conversation with them,” Jimmie said. “That way the interview is more natural. When you build that mutual respect it flows so much smoother and you can tell in the interview because we want people to know who an artist is as a person and a talent.”
Since it’s inception, the “Curators of Hip Hop” have worked with a number of growing personalities within the Hip Hop industry. When asked which individuals stood out the most, the first name that came to mind was Logic who has received rave reviews from the minds behind the COHH.
“I feel like Logic will do a lot for the world with race relations and issues,” said Jimmie. “Think about if Tupac looked white but was bi-racial and wasn’t as aggressive and abrasive when he discussed issues.”
Quite a review when thinking about a new name in the music industry who has gone on to begin working with Def Jam but the list doesn’t end there. With more than 200 archived interviews some of the names that stand out the most include Ahmad, Dead Prez, Dee-1, Scarub of The Living Legends, Matt Reeves, Nitasha Sharma, who is a published author and instructor of Hip Hop based classes, and many others.
With such a long listing of artists that have worked with this project that continues to grow, the “Curators of Hip Hop” will only become more prominent within the music and entertainment industry. They’ve begun to chronicle certain aspects of the fashion, dance and graffiti aspects of the Hip Hop culture which will only grow in the future.
As the media industry continues to change and perception of not only individuals, but entire cultures can be changed due to one social media post or the opinion of a talking head; it’s captivating to see a group of individuals working hard to capture the true meaning of Hip Hop. The Curators of Hip Hop is a project that not only deserves mainstream attention, but the recognition of world renowned museum exhibits.