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Big news for The Kennedy Center: They’ve appointed rapper and producer Q-Tip as its first-ever artistic director of hip hop culture, ensuring that hip-hop will be a permanent fixture there.
In an press conference announcing its 2016-2017 season this morning, Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter announced the appointment of Q-Tip as well as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renée Fleming as artistic advisors at large. It’s all part of a year-l0ng centennial celebration of the late president John F. Kennedy‘s birth, which will guide the Center’s programming throughout the season.
Although the details of Q-Tip’s plan as a hip-hop curator is still in the works, the rapper said that he’s “ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work” in a video message played for members of the press. “My new position as Artistic Director for Hip Hop Culture gives me the ability to show many lanes and perspectives in which Hip Hop is breaking, and has broken, new ground,” he said.
The Kennedy Center’s upcoming season includes so many announcements that Rutter repeatedly joked that there’s no way she’ll be able to get to them all, but a whole host of highlights include the appointment of trumpeter Terence Blanchard as an Artist in Residence, the final season of National Symphony Orchestra Maestro Christoph Eschenbach, a bunch of new operas, ballets, dance, and theater productions (sorry Hamilton fans, Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s hit musical is still not coming to D.C.), as well as continued expansion into comedy, with upcoming shows from John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Kevin Nealon, Adam Carolla, and more.
Basically, it’s going to be a busy year at The Kennedy Center.