Kendrick Lamar Joins George Washington & More As A Painting In The U.S. Capitol
Back in 2015, it was announced that Kendrick Lamar had inspired the “Be Alright” scholarship at a New Jersey school. It was an exciting development for Hip-Hop, as it spoke directly to the culture’s growing rate of acceptance as a worthy, inspiring, and important presence in education. Shortly thereafter, Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly became such a cultural touchstone that the then-president himself, Barack Obama, invited the Compton MC to visit him at the White House. With the recent release of yet another number-one album in DAMN., K.Dot continues to thrive as a commercial and critical phenom, but it’s his presence in places outside of music that truly speak to his unmatched success.
As reported by XXL, Kendrick Lamar’s likeness will soon be spending an entire year inside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The Congressional Art Competition, which “sponsors a nationwide high-school visual-art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district,” has announced this year’s winner is Pueblo, Colorado’s Tiona Cordova. The high-school student’s winning piece is a portrait of Lamar, based on a TPAB-era photo of the Grammy-winning rapper. Cordova’s triumph was announced by Colorado’s 3rd congressional district Representative, Scott Tipton, on Twitter:
— Rep. Scott Tipton (@RepTipton) May 16, 2017
But public acclaim from local politicians isn’t all Ms. Cordova has to look forward to. As the White House’s official website explains, “winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony” in D.C., and “winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.” No official date for the awards ceremony has been announced, but it’s certain to be a historic moment for Hip-Hop, as Lamar’s portrait hangs in the same sanctioned halls as do those of historic figures and events: the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the baptism of Pocahontas, and many more.
Lamar’s forthcoming arrival to the Capitol echoes similarly extraordinary events in Hip-Hop. J. Dilla’s musical equipment currently resides in the Smithsonian, while four classic Hip-Hop albums (including TPAB) are headed to the Harvard archives. Memorabilia of Rap stars like Tupac Shakur is collecting record-making amounts of money at auctions, and Q-Tip is the Kennedy Center’s first artistic director of Hip-Hop culture.