What is the Universal Hip Hop Museum?

What is the Universal Hip Hop Museum?

Source: Unsplash @Mike Von

If hip-hop is designed to inspire and empower, the Universal Hip Hop Museum will bring that message to visitors directly from the birthplace of the art. Deep in the Bronx, the museum takes inspiration from its iconic founders to present the history of this music to the people it hopes to inspire. Maybe they can turn that history into their legacy.

The Origins of the Hip-Hop Museum

If you want to know how hip-hop started, it depends on who you ask. Many say that it happened at a party in the Bronx in 1973, inside a house on Sedgwick Avenue. Hip-hop was born as protest music, using heavy beats to drive a rhythm of emotional outrage. It was music that could be used as a statement, music that could be felt. And now it’s the most profitable music genre on earth.

But if you’re wondering how the museum started, you have to acquaint yourself with Mr. Rocky Bucano. He had a television career before he launched Strong City Records right in the Bronx with iconic DJ Jazzy Jay. He also directed sports scholarship funds for the New York Gauchos Basketball Program. Now, he’s launching the Universal Hip Hop Museum with a whole catalog of icons. These include Ice T, Nas, LL Cool J, and Kurtis Blow.

They saw that there was no Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx, the place where hip-hop was born, the “Mecca,” according to Nas. To them this was like having no monuments to America in Boston. “Hip-hop made me believe anything was possible,” LL Cool J said. They wanted to see what millions of dollars could do to make that belief universal.

Source: Unsplash @BP Miller

The Museum Today

The museum had its groundbreaking last month and plans are underway to get it built. With the goal of preserving hip-hop history, the museum is planned to be 52,000 square feet of space, including a 300-seat theater where visiting icons will do their thing.

The Universal Hip-Hop Museum is part of Bronx Point, a huge development on the Harlem River as part of an affordable housing initiative. $4 million of its budget has been set aside for this museum.

Its founders intended for the museum to go up in time to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th birthday in 2023. But delays due to the pandemic have pushed its estimated completion to 2024.

The Takeaway

Source: Unsplash @chasefade

Hip-hop has provided an outlet for rebellious energy for many decades. For people who feel disenfranchised by a system, music can be incredibly empowering. To celebrate its history, Bucano and a catalog of hip-hop icons want to bring the history of the genre to the Bronx, the place where it was born. Showing people where it’s been, they hope to show people where it’s going now, where they can take it.

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The state of Black entrepreneurship

The state of Black entrepreneurship

Tosh Ernest

Sponsored Content from JP Morgan Chase

A conversation with Tosh Ernest, head of Wealth, Advancing Black Pathways at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Q: Last year, between February and April alone, the U.S. lost 440,000 Black-owned businesses. What made these firms so vulnerable?

A: The unfortunate reality is that far too many Black-owned businesses entered this crisis under-capitalized and under-resourced to begin with. Through our own research, we know that businesses in predominantly Black and Latinx communities have significantly lower cash liquidity than businesses in predominantly White communities.

Continue reading here.

The History of Pride Month

The History of Pride Month

Source: Unsplash@mrs80z

Pride Month parties, parades, and protests have been spreading over the world since the 1970s when LGBTQ+ liberation entered the mainstream, now resulting in just over 50 years of Pride history. From the gigantic city-wide celebrations to the smallest local prom, different regions show their pride differently.

How did Pride Month become the staple movement that it is today? Consider these highlights of Pride history to better understand what it means in 2021.

The Early History of Pride Month

Source: Flickr

Pride month traces its roots, as many celebrations do, to violent stands against authority. The Stonewall Riots, and the lesser-known Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco, mark the most well-documented early protests against LGBTQ+ harassment.

The Stonewall Riots originated a lot of the language that Pride protestors now use to spread their message. They began at the Stonewall Inn, a well-known front for the Genovese crime family that also happened to be the only gay bar in the city where dancing was allowed.

The conflict between the police, the bribes (Stonewall had no liquor license), and the tangles of Mafia ownership eventually resulted in police, no longer on the blackmail payroll, raiding the inn. 

The intense confrontation began as police arrested patrons and angry onlookers began fighting back, forcing the police to retreat. Their resistance at the inn led to a march on Central Park where the concept of “Gay Pride” was adopted as a rallying cry.

This march is often considered the proper beginning of Pride Month, as more and more people joined in from other cities to parade, celebrate, and protest, not only against this one event, but against the standards of the time that made it happen in the first place.

Pride Month Today

Source: Vox

The international organization called InterPride was founded to manage these protests throughout the world. They keep a calendar of the major events and fund organizations in dozens of major cities to carry out their marches at the allotted time.

Today, there is a huge commercial influence on Pride Month activities from many overlapping interests. Corporate logos from sponsors have been appearing on Pride banners and products with increasing frequency. Politicians and companies now also claim a stake in the events, with mega-corporations like Google running its own local Pride events. You can even buy Pride fries at McDonald’s.

The Takeaway

For many protestors, the integration of corporate and political sponsorship has taken away from the original intent of Pride Month. Many feel that “commodifying awareness” has led to rights issues being put on the back burner of an ad-driven annual event that is now as regularly commercialized as Christmas. 

This Pride Month, they urge people to remember what it actually means and what real change looks like. They hope people will continue to take a stance for what they believe in, regardless of whether it has a McDonald’s logo or not.

Each month we curate and present subjects and topics that matter to you by working with Content Publishers in the major areas that impact our readers. Find out more about how you as a content publisher can benefit and grow your audience with curated content.

From Lifestyle to Entertainment to Business and Politics, Narrative Matters showcases the content from the top minds and authors in their generations.

Father’s Day Gift Guide From Black-Owned Businesses

Father’s Day Gift Guide From Black-Owned Businesses

Father’s Day is just around the corner and time for shopping is growing perilously short. Depending on the Dad, finding a perfect gift can be much harder than you think which is why you should start looking now. Of course, you can always ask the special man in your life directly what he wants, but when you curate a gift on his behalf, it will be more heartfelt. Instead of sticking to the played-out options of ties, pens, and golf clubs, consider choosing a unique gift from one of the Black-owned brands in our round-up.

When it comes to Father’s Day gifts, the best ones are both sentimental and practical. Think about your dad’s hobbies, habits, and secret desires. Will he love a personalized art print or perhaps is he in need of something to help him relax on the weekends? Perhaps he has been looking for a way to overhaul his wardrobe, whatever you choose, these POC businesses are sure to help you make Father’s Day 2021 one to remember.


This website is the brainchild of twin brothers, both of which are innovative Black men with a vision. There are a plethora of sustainable options to choose from for Dad’s or other meaningful men in your life this Father’s Day. Pick up some brightly colored Hammam Dot Towel sets to brighten up their bathroom or treat them to some self-care gifts from the bath and body section. No matter what you choose, the products are guaranteed to be thoughtful, high quality, and smile-inducing for the man you love.

Uncommon Goods

For the man in your life that loves customized creations, Uncommon Goods has a lot to offer. From specialty sugar cubes to create beer cocktails and “mine” liquor flask to luxury grilling utensils and beer-infused barbecue rubs, you are certain to find a gift that makes him smile. All of the products are made and sold by independent proprietors so you can pick and choose where to spend your money responsibly this Father’s Day.


Nothing says I love you more than food. Most dads are the ones manning the grill on the holidays or bringing in the bacon for the family to enjoy. This year why not treat the food-loving father figure in your life to a truly unique gift. You can order meal kits, fully cooked meals, classes, or even a meal delivery subscription for the man in your life who loves to eat. The founder, Joe Ariel understands the connection that comfort food has with emotions and makes sure that a little bit of heart and soul goes into every delivery.

Golde Superfoods

Everyone wants their day to be as healthy as possible to enjoy everything life has to offer. One way to keep your dad healthy is with delicious superfoods. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be tasteless, and with delights from Golde, you can keep him fit and full this Father’s Day. This brand was created by a woman of color who wanted to find healthier options in the urban environment. You can set your dad up with Matcha mixes to boost his energy or blueberry-flavored drinks to help reduce his stress levels. In addition to superfoods to improve his internal health, they also offer a range of skincare items that will help turn back the hands of time and give him a natural glow.

Golden Grooming Co.

For men of color, skincare and grooming is often just an afterthought. If you want to give your dad a thoughtful gift that he can use all year long, consider picking up one of the bundles. There are beard oils, body washes, moisturizers, and more that are crafted from 100% all-natural products. The items are geared towards men of color though anyone can use them with equally superior performance. If you want to make him laugh, pick up The Grown Ass Man Box which offers a mix of everything the brand has to offer. To top it off, a percentage of their profit to students at HBCUs and other programs that support entrepreneurship for Black youths in underserved communities.

Gift Ideas From The Heart 

Here at The Narrative Matters, we are dedicated to speaking about topics that matter to you and to the culture. We pride ourselves in partnering with Content Publishers to bring topics and areas of interest that impact our readers to the forefront. If you are interested in growing your audience with content that matters, you can find out more here. We cover a range of genres from pop culture, lifestyle, and emerging trends to health, politics, education, and more. 

Photo Credits:

  • https://goldengroomingco.com/
  • golde.co
  • goldbelly.com
  • uncommongoods.com
  • https://www.goodeeworld.com/
A Pop-up Look at a Rising Singer, Emil Beckford

A Pop-up Look at a Rising Singer, Emil Beckford

The Narrative Matters always wants to keep you in the know on what is going on in the world, right within your reach. As we strive to help you stay entertained and well informed of our new creatives, we also want to make sure the talents we interview give you all the information to keep you abreast of what is trending on the Independent music scene.

I was delighted to get the opportunity to sit down and do an over-the-web interview with a very aspiring and articulate young musician by the name of Emil Beckford. A quick and blasé name, you would remark. However, there isn’t anything simple about this young man with the plan. 

So, sit back and catch up with what is new in his music catalog and how is he making effective changes in the social world around us.

Hello sir, how are you? 

Emil: I am good! Thank you for making this space for me. 

I am hearing that you released a new album, so what is it called? 

Emil: That is indeed true. The new album is called Songs About Isolation. It came out a few weeks ago and it’s my first album actually, which is really exciting.

I checked out your last song “Prove Me Wrong.” How is it doing on your platforms? 

Emil: Yeah, “Prove Me Wrong” I think is the fan favorite from my last project, Songs About Pickles. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to numbers and things but I’m glad it seems to be a song that resonates with people and makes them want to return, even after two years; and you can’t beat a music video shot in France. 

Okay, with your new album, what was the inspiration behind it? 

Emil: Definitely the Covid of it all. After Songs About Pickles came out, I was excited to share other songs I had about things besides love, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I felt like I had a device to explore those things. I was literally in the back of an Uber getting ready to start my quarantine when the idea hit.

So how does Covid-19 figure in the delivery of your new work? 

Emil: The album definitely dives into a lot of what quarantine has evoked in a lot of us over the last fifteen months or so; namely the isolation, stress, doubt, and fear, but also learning to be kind to yourself, slowly opening back up to the world, and being satisfied.

And from a production standpoint, it was a lot of Zoom calls and sending files back and forth with people because we just couldn’t make it in the same physical space, so ironically, I had to learn how to make this album about isolation in the most collaborative way possible.

Tell me about some of your writers on this album. 

Emil: Speaking of collaboration. I’m very used to working alone (I wrote most of these songs over the course of the last five years and produced them throughout quarantine), but I also realize that you can make better art oftentimes if you relinquish a little control. “Why Do We Suck?”, for example, is a co-write with my best friend, Sofía Campoamor, that we originally made for a class years ago but polished up for this moment. She has exciting stuff coming soon so look out for her.

And then “LoveHurt” is a two and half minute song with seven writers because I thought it would be fun to get a bunch of songwriters on Zoom, throw an idea in front of everyone, and just talk about it until we have a song. Sofía also participated in that, Maria Campos Saadi and Thomas Hagen, who are half of this really cool band Sargasso (Thomas also helped a lot with the production on the album), Archer Frodyma, who played guitar and is an incredible artist, Emma Longhurst, who I wrote with before on Songs About Pickles and is super important to me, and then the icon, Emily Li, who’s literally a pop star in China.

I also want to note that Noah Silvestry, who mixed the album, had a huge hand in shaping it through his production work and mixing, especially on “Never Awake”, which he re-produced from the ground up.

So, can we buy or stream the new album? Give me some information. 

Emil: Yeah, Songs About Isolation is out everywhere you get music online, so your Spotify’s and Apple Music’s. If you’re still with Tidal, I got you. You can listen on YouTube and watch the music video for “Why Do We Suck?” while you’re there. If you’re a “buying music” type of person, it’s on my Bandcamp, which is where I recommend you buy it from, but also on iTunes and Amazon.

Are you looking to go on any tours or open mics soon? 

Emil: Probably not. I’m very proud of this album and want to share it with people, but making it was my major goal in life since March 2020, so I’m honestly a little drained. I’m very interested in re-learning how to be a person in society. I also don’t have a proper band, so I don’t really go looking for gigs, but if something comes my way, who knows? Anything is possible.

Is the music industry tough in your town? 

Emil: One of the things I love about the music scene in New Haven is that it’s much more community-focused than industry-dominated. People really want to support and help each other out and that feels really special. I’m very fortunate to have some incredible New Haven-based artists like Ro Godwynn, who sings the end of “Another Gospel Song”, and Ben Cohen, the guitarist and duettist on “Happy”, on this record.

Who is your biggest supporter, your mom or your dad? 

Emil: Haha this isn’t a trap at all. I’m very fortunate that I have four parents who care about me and want me to pursue my dreams, even if it means I’m belting high notes in their houses at all hours of the night.

Do you see yourself getting married as your music takes off? 

Emil: Well, I’d have to find a partner first! If anybody’s in the New Haven area, wants songs written about them, and likes long scooter rides, my DMs are open.

Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to hearing more of your music in the near future.

Emil: Thank you so much!

You can catch Emil this Tuesday at 6p.m. EST during an interview with Powerhouse Radio of CONN.

Listen here


Singer, Songwriter, Producer | He/Him/His


Sign up for Emil’s mailing list: tinyletter.com/emilbeckfordemilbeckford@gmail.com