Activist DeRay McKesson Named Keynote Speaker For 2016 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

Known for bringing some of the most historic and livest performances to New York City’s Brooklyn borough, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is not just a place to catch memorable moments in music. Now in its 12th season, BKHHF (and Brooklyn Bodega) continues to organize and host panels, workshops, exhibitions, and performances in the days leading up to the main event that tackle a host of issues pertaining to not only Hip-Hop, but the institutions, skills, trends, and social movements surrounding the culture at large. This year’s finale concert takes place Saturday, July 16 and features Nas, Fabolous, Talib Kweli, Rapsody, and many more – but as usual, that is only the closing chapter of a series of events Heads are in for.

Mobb Deep Talk 20 Years of The Infamous & Perform Shook Ones Pt. II at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival (Video)

Through another one of the festival components, its Hip-Hop Institute, thought leaders and professionals representing an array of industries join forces to lead events open to the public with the aim of educating and inspiring those looking to advance in life, whether personally, professionally or otherwise. This year’s installment is no different, with generational icon, social-justice advocate, and Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay McKesson appearing at the Institute. Taking place at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood on Wednesday, July 13, McKesson’s Keynote speech address will no doubt touch upon the Black Lives Matter and the July 5 shooting of Alton Sterling by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Notably, the Hip-Hop Institute will also be hosting a much-needed panel discussion on “Mental and Physical Health in Hip-Hop,” which organizers say is inspired by the deaths of Phife Dawg, Sean Price, Chis Lighty, and Capital STEEZ.

Activist DeRay McKesson Calls “All Lives Matter” A Distraction (Video)

Other events taking place on July 13 include panels on the state of Hip-Hop Journalism, Hip-Hop’s role in the sneaker business, women in Hip-Hop business, the role of indie artists in the Rap industry, and more. On the following day, the annual Dummy Film Clap Festival will take place, where “a celebration of Hip-Hop as told through the moving image” includes screenings of films and more.

Heads are in for a serious treat on July 15, when the JUICE Hip-Hop Exhibition will serve as an appetizer for the main event. Featuring performances from Your Old Droog, Nick Grant, and Taylor Bennett (Chance The Rapper’s younger brother), the Exhibition serves as a spotlight on emergent artists and takes place in DUMBO. The Eventbrite page features more information.


For a peek into what Heads can expect from Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s energy, check out footage of last year’s headlining performance from Common.