Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Grandmaster Flash Honored with Sweden’s $130K Polar Prize [WATCH]

*Grandmaster Flash, considered one of the architects of hip-hop, accepted the prestigious Polar Music Prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a ceremony held at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm on June 11. 

Flash accepted the award  “in honor of every DJ, every rapper, every graffiti artist, and every break-dancer,” Forbes reports. He was one of three laureates for the 2019 prize, alongside German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and Whitney Kroenke and Mark Johnson, co-founders of the Playing for Change Foundation music and arts charity,

“I come from a very small place called The Bronx,” the Barbados-born Grandmaster Flash said during the banquet ceremony. “This thing that I did had not existed before, and I am one of many where I come from. It ended up being called hip-hop, taking the drum break from pop, rock, jazz, blues, funk, disco, R+B, and using duplicate copies of records. I would take one section and repeat it over and over again. This self-made music bed served for the break-dancers, and later, for the MC’s.”

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Each laureate receives prize money of one million Swedish Kronor or about $130,000.

De La Soul’s DJ Maseo read the citation: “Some 40 years later, the musical form and the hip hop culture that Grandmaster Flash helped to create, in the ruins of the South Bronx in the mid-1970s, has grown into the largest music genre, hip hop, in the United States and the world.”

The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, the publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA. His label was called Polar Music.

The award was first presented in 1992, and Billboard notes the prize has gone to many of the world’s greatest pop, classical and jazz artists, including Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, B.B. King, Ennio Morricone, Sting, Renée Fleming, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Yo-Yo Ma, Max Martin, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Wayne Shorter, Björk, Metallica and Isaac Stern.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the first hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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