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The Black History & Culture Collection is a not-for-profit initiative created to provide access to historical and cultural images of the African/Black Diaspora in the U.S. and U.K., gathered from content owned by Getty Images.
Ahead of tonight’s BET Awards, the Black Wall Street Times spoke with Cassandra Illidge, Vice President of Content & Brand Partnerships at Getty Images and Tyree Boyd-Pates, Black Archives Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement and Museum Curator.
Getty Images and Black Archives first partnered in 2021 to uncover and curate rarely seen photographs of Black history from Getty Images Archives.
Over the years, the partnership has evolved and when Getty Images launched the Black History & Culture Collection in 2022, Black Archives became a key launch partner to the collection by partnering to shine light on specific moments from the collection, including Hip Hop through the Raymond Boyd Collection.
During the 50th anniversary of hip hop, Illidge says, “The Black History Culture Collection came from the outcries from everybody else to change things within the company, externally as well.”
“We want to make sure there is also access to content,” affirms Illidge.
Hip Hop, since its inception, has been a dynamic force in shaping trends and sparking conversations, solidifying its status as a cultural phenomenon that constantly evolves alongside society.
Getty Images Black History and Culture Collection curators are reflecting on its profound impact on culture, fashion, and style. Feeling nostalgic, Illidge commented, “I grew up in Brooklyn.”
“I remember Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, RUN-DMC. Basketball courts with boom boxes and people out dancing and everything else. That’s hip hop.”
Illidge continued, “Hip hop is about freedom of speech.”
“It’s a self-expressive diary of what’s going on in our communities,” she concluded.
Boyd-Pates agreed, adding, “One of the modalities of how I learned about Black history beyond books was through hip hop,” remembers the historian.
He continued, “Hip hop’s five elements — graffiti, breakdancing, DJ’ing, emceeing, and then the fifth is knowledge of self.”
He explains, “The power of photography is pictorially how Black people gain knowledge of themselves from yesteryear.”
Getty Images’ Black History and Culture Collection is celebrating its one-year anniversary.
It is a special curation that celebrates a half-century of hip hop — from its roots in the Bronx to its impact on cultural events around the globe.
Through the BHCC and Getty Images Archives, Getty Images and Black Archives pay homage to hip hop, showcasing the cultural and artistic significance of the genre, underlining its rich evolution and impact on society.
The curation for the 50th anniversary, features iconic photographs capturing pivotal moments in the evolution of the genre, including performances, artists, and cultural milestones, as well as highlights the fashion and style trends associated with Hip Hop.
It also includes photographs that depict the role of Hip Hop in addressing social issues and advocating for change within underrepresented communities.
The curation for the 50th anniversary, aims to serve as a valuable educational resource for researchers, educators, companies and media seeking visual content related to Hip Hop’s history and influence and contributes to the documentation and preservation of Hip Hop’s legacy, ensuring that its cultural significance is recognized and celebrated for years to come.
Black History and Culture Collection spans five dope decades
In tandem, the Getty Images Black History and Culture Collection commemorates its one-year anniversary with a specially curated collection that pays homage to the rich history of hip hop spanning five decades.
“Nonprofit organizations and educators come to us all the time looking for content.” She continued, “And what better way can we solve the problem but to create a collection specifically for that.”
Boyd-Pates affirmed, “The goal of what we’re doing is for our community to be the archivists of their stories because we know systematically we’ve been locked out of having our story on record.”
“The pride in representation during the golden age of hip hop taught me Blackness.”
He reflected, “It taught me to be proud of red, black and green. I saw my uncle in the 90s who lived with my family go to school listening to Tribe Called Quest. It did something to me viscerally.”
“I didn’t always understand what they were talking about but I knew they wanted me to be a better version of me,” said Boyd-Pates.
Hip hop’s best-anything depends on whom you ask, however, Illidge says her top 5 is not up for discussion.
Cassandra’s Top 5: Queen Latifah, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Salt-N-Pepa, Notorious B.I.G.
Remarking on Queen Latifah, Illidge says, “she is a woman who rejected misogyny and responded in a powerful way.”
Illidge explained, “she was able to transition her career into acting and everything else, it’s so powerful.”
Tyree’s Top 5: Jay-Z, Black Thought, MF DOOM, Ms. Lauryn Hill, 2pac
A good kid born in a M.A.A.D. City, LA’s own Boyd-Pates noted, “Kendrick is Kendrick. And he’s always on my list even if I don’t name him.”
Commenting on the collection, Illidge added, “I want them to feel like they went home. A feeling so connected that it brings a positive light to them and inspiration.”