Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn DA’s Office celebrates hip hop for Black History Month

March 1, 2023 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
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The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office celebrated Black History Month with a star-studded tribute to 50 years of hip hop on Thursday, Feb. 23 at St. Francis College in Downtown Brooklyn.

“Black music is American music. Black artists have been present throughout the evolution of music from the start, but for much of our history, they weren’t given the credit or recognition they deserved,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “Without their creativity, innovation and influence, we wouldn’t have almost any of the popular music genres we enjoy today.”

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez with Rocky Bucano, Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn DA’s Office.

The event was hosted by comedian and writer Mike “Brooklyn Mike” Troy and featured music by Grammy-nominated R&B performer Eric Roberson, as well as a salute to hip hop introduced by Rocky Bucano, Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum.

Roberson began his music career in the 1990s as a member of the group 2 Too Many. He released his first solo album, “The Esoteric Movement,” in 2001, and has since gone on to release several more albums, including “Music Fan First,” “The Box,” and “Earth.” Roberson’s music is known for its soulful, jazzy sound and has been nominated for several Grammy Awards.

He has also collaborated with many notable artists, including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jill Scott, and Musiq Soulchild. In addition to his music career, Roberson has also worked as a songwriter and producer for other artists, and has written songs for Will Smith, Vivian Green, and other well-known performers.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez with gospel singers Timiney Figueroa (L) and Anaysha Figueroa-Cooper. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn DA’s Office.

The Universal Hip Hop Museum is planned to open in the Bronx in 2024 and will be dedicated to the history and culture of hip hop. It plans to feature exhibits showcasing the origins of hip hop, its evolution, and its impact on music and culture. The museum’s permanent collection will include artifacts, photographs, and other memorabilia related to hip hop history, as well as interactive exhibits and multimedia installations.

The museum will also feature a performance space, an outdoor amphitheater, and an education center. The museum’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the cultural legacy of hip hop, and to provide educational programs and community outreach initiatives to promote the positive impact of hip hop on youth culture.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez also honored attorney Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative and hip hop legend and Blue Bloods cast member Eric B.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office celebrated Black History Month on Thursday night with a star-studded tribute to Hip Hop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Pictured here is District Attorney Eric Gonzalez with legendary hip hop artist Eric B. and Mike “Brooklyn Mike” Troy who MC’d the event. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn DA’s Office.

Eric B. is a legendary hip hop artist and DJ from the Bronx, who rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s as one half of the iconic hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, with Rakim as the emcee and Eric B. providing the beats.

Eric B. was known for his innovative use of sampling and his ability to blend different styles of music to create unique and memorable beats. He was also known for his fashion sense and his larger-than-life persona, which helped to make him one of the most recognizable figures in the early days of hip hop.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongfully convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. The EJI also advocates for criminal justice reform and works to raise public awareness about issues such as mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial and economic injustice in the U.S. legal system.

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