Sunday, January 17, 2021

Kennedy Center Names Simone Eccleston as its First Director of Hip-Hop Culture

Simone Eccleston (
Simone Eccleston

*Simone Eccleston, the current director of programming at Harlem Stage in New York, is headed to D.C. to become the first ever Director of Hip-Hop Culture at the Kennedy Center.

The move is part of a push by the Kennedy Center to incorporate more hip hop into its programming. Last year, the center named rapper A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip as its artistic director for hip hop.

Eccleston’s new role will include leading a center-wide commitment to hip-hop culture and contemporary music, which includes R&B, soul, folk and roots, indie, world music and Latin music, according to a release. She’ll also work as a partner with other areas of the Kennedy Center to highlight the collaborative nature of hip-hop music.

The Kennedy Center will also aim to increase opportunities for community involvement and participation.

“With the Kennedy Center serving as the preeminent home for our nation’s arts and culture, the creation of a programmatic platform for hip-hop culture is deeply significant,” Eccleston said in a statement.

She also said hip-hop culture has influenced and contributed to every aspect of American society and helps drive innovation and creative expressions across many different disciplines. “It is also an important catalyst for community building, activism and empowerment,” Eccleston said.

She said this new presence at the Kennedy Center will both celebrate and highlight the work that artists, curators and organizations across the country have created, both honoring and advancing the legacy of the hip-hop culture.

Eccleston is scheduled to begin the job on March 13.




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