Visual Culture: Artist Danielle Mastrion Celebrates Kool Herc + 40 Years of Hip-Hop

Words by Kieran K. Meadows, Art by Danielle Mastrion—
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Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of hip-hop. Or more precisely 40 years to the day — August 11, 1973 — that a young DJ of Jamaican descent threw a “Back To School Jam” party at 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx. That DJ’s name was Kool Herc and, as the story goes, that’s when and where hip-hop was birthed. To commemorate the anniversary Sunday, an event was held at 5Pointz, an outdoor exhibition space in Long Island City, Queens, NYC widely seen as the graffiti mecca of the world, with Herc as the guest of honor. As a tribute to the father of hip-hop, muralist Danielle Mastrion was asked a few months ago to paint a huge image of the Herc’s face at 5Pointz to be officially unveiled at the celebration.

5Pointz, meanwhile, remains in danger of getting torn down. There is currently a petition campaign underway to have the location landmarked by the city for its significance in preserving one of the main elements of hip-hop culture.

Check out the photos of Herc and the mural below. For more info, go to daniellemastrion.com and follow her on Instagram @daniellebknyc, and also 5ptz.com and @save5pointz.

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The blueprint

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The artist and her work

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Kool Herc at yesterday’s “Celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop” event