NMAAHC hip hop display 'breaks barriers'

Music's living history at African American Museum

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Timothy Anne Burnside earned her hip hop stripes and then some.

As the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Museum Specialist in Curatorial Design, Burnside has crisscrossed the country since 2009 on a musical treasure hunt.

She’s collected Public Enemy’s boombox, given to her by Chuck D., and the custom-made synthesizer belonging to the late hip hop producer JDilla.

“Everybody said, ‘he’s your favorite producer’s producer,’” she said.

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There’s Parliament’s Mothership to the heartbeat of D.C.: GoGo and Chuck Brown. These are not your typical museum displays.

“The Smithsonian to so many people around the world is where things go to die, where the legacy of the dead white presidents live,” Burnside said. “By recognizing and collecting hip hop, we are breaking down those barriers.”

The soundtrack to this story sees no boundaries, and crosses genres and generations.

“There is important music in every decade,” Burnside said. “Activism in music doesn’t stop in 1975. We hope that people have a better understanding of the current artists and what it took for them to have the platforms that they stand on.”


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