meta-scriptJanet Jackson's Iconic 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Turns 30 Today & We Still Have Work To Do | GRAMMY.com
Janet Jackson's Iconic 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Turns 30 Today & We Still Have Work To Do

Janet Jackson in 1989

Photo: Courtesy of artist

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Janet Jackson's Iconic 'Rhythm Nation 1814' Turns 30 Today & We Still Have Work To Do

"The fact that the lyrics remain relevant is a bit of a disappointment actually. It means we haven't moved too far away from the prejudice, ignorance, hate and racial bias that we spoke about 30 years ago," co-producer Jimmy Jam recently said

GRAMMYs/Sep 20, 2019 - 05:35 am

30 years ago today, a 23-year old Janet Jackson released her groundbreaking, GRAMMY-nominated fourth studio album, Rhythm Nation 1814. The chart-topping 20-track epic not only shook up the music world with its futuristic, raw, industrial soundscape, it also paved the way for socially conscious pop at a poignant time. It followed 1986's GRAMMY-nominated breakout hit album Control, which was the first time Jackson was given creative control over her music.

As with its predecessor, Jackson worked with GRAMMY-winning musical powerhouses Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, diving deeper into the collaborative co-writing and co-production process they had established. On Rhythm Nation her professional and personal empowerment shines through as she reflects on the madness of the times, and it still hits today. Unfortunately, her message for a safer, more equal world is still is a relevant today as it was then. It's definitely time to revisit the powerful album and take its words and rhythms to heart.

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The year was 1989, and the first mass-shooting since the dawn of CNN (in 1980) had, understandably, shaken up the American public, Jackson included. The horrific, racially charged attack took place at an elementary school in Stockton, Calif., leaving five of students dead and 30 other people injured.

On Rhythm Nation 1814's heart-breaking 11th track, "Livin' In A World (They Didn't Make)," Janet echoes the tragedy in the chorus: "Livin' in a world that's filled with hate. / Livin' in a world where grown-ups break the rules / (And they're just) Livin' in a world they didn't make / Payin' for a lot of adult mistakes. / How much of this madness can they take, our children?"

The song ends with gunshots and children's screams, as a clip of a reporter announcing the news of the shooting pulses in and out of the track, fading into the background, almost like an additional, jarring interlude. This specific tragedy may have faded from our social memory, but, even more tragically, sounds eerily similar to breaking news in 2019, and to the countless shootings this nation has endured the past 30 years.

"The fact that the lyrics remain relevant is a bit of a disappointment actually. It means we haven't moved too far away from the prejudice, ignorance, hate and racial bias that we spoke about 30 years ago," Jam recently told Billboard. Yet just because it's downright sad that we're still here doesn't mean we don't have the ability to truly move forward and grow as a nation, for everyone.

"I still believe the power of music is the healing force for all things. It transcends language, race, age, and unites all the commonalities that we have. It's necessary like the air we breathe and we're going to continue to use our gifts to try to change lives in a positive way," he added.

Jam also spoke to her far-reaching influence on music, beyond her unmistakable pop footprint, over the years:

"Janet being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was well-deserved. So many of the trends in music today and the idea of female empowerment on all musical levels owe so much to her. Her innovations in staging, from her headset microphone to the elaborate arena size theatrical sets, and groundbreaking music videos incorporating innovative dance steps have been, and are still being, emulated by all artists across the board, not just rock n' roll. The Rhythm Nation album was designed to use music to inspire and inform people."

It's safe to say that the album did, and still does, make waves. The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, seven out of eight of its singles hit the Top 10 and the album and singles earned seven GRAMMY nods across two shows. At the 32nd GRAMMY Awards, in addition to the trio all earning Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical) nominations, the 30-minute album visual won Best Music Video, Long Form.

"I feel that most socially conscious artists—like Tracy Chapman, U2—I love their music, but I feel their audience is already socially conscious," Jackson told Rolling Stone in 1990. "I feel that I could reach a different audience, let them know what’s going on and that you have to be a little bit wiser than you are and watch yourself."

Maybe we just need to play it a little louder.

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The GRAMMY Museum Celebrates Black History Month 2024 With A Series Of Special Programs And Events

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The GRAMMY Museum Celebrates Black History Month 2024 With A Series Of Special Programs And Events

Throughout February, the GRAMMY Museum will celebrate the profound legacy and impact of Black music with workshops, screenings, and intimate conversations.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 08:31 pm

The celebration isn't over after the 2024 GRAMMYs. In recognition of Black History Month, the GRAMMY Museum proudly honors the indelible impact of Black music on America and the fabric of global pop culture. 

This programming is a testament to the rich heritage and profound influence of Black artists, whose creativity and resilience have shaped the foundation of American music. Through a series of thoughtfully curated events — including educational workshops, family programs, special screenings, and intimate conversations — the Museum aims to illuminate the vibrant legacy and ongoing evolution of Black music. 

From a workshop on the rhythmic storytelling of hip-hop following its 50th anniversary and the soulful echoes of Bill Withers' classics, to the groundbreaking contributions of James Brown and the visionary reimagination of "The Wiz," these GRAMMY Museum programs encapsulate the enduring legacy and dynamic future of Black music.

The GRAMMY Museum invites audiences to delve into the stories, sounds, and souls that have woven Black music into the tapestry of our shared human experience. Through this journey, the Museum and the Recording Academy honor the artists, visionaries, and pioneers whose talents have forever altered the landscape of music and culture. 

Read on for additional information on the GRAMMY Museum's month-long tribute that explores, appreciates and celebrates the invaluable contributions of Black music to our world.

Thurs., Feb. 8

History of Hip-Hop Education Workshop

WHAT: In celebration of the 50 years of hip-hop, this workshop examines the unique evolution of Hip Hop from its origin to where the genre is today. Highlighting the golden age of Hip Hop, this lesson will provide students with a greater understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the genre.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Sat., Feb. 10

Family Time: Grandma’s Hands

WHAT: Join us for a very special family program celebrating the recently released children’s book Grandma’s Hands based on one of Bill Withers’ most beloved songs. Bill’s wife, Marcia, and daughter, Kori, will participate in a book reading, conversation, audience Q&A, and performance, followed by a book signing. The program is free (4 tickets per household.)

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Mon., Feb. 12

Celebrating James Brown: Say It Loud

WHAT: The GRAMMY Museum hosts a special evening on the life and music of the late "Godfather of Soul" James Brown. The program features exclusive clips from A&E's forthcoming documentary James Brown: Say It Loud, produced in association with Polygram Entertainment, Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Two One Five Entertainment, followed by a conversation with Director Deborah Riley Draper, superstar Producer Jimmy Jam, and some surprises.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

Sat., Feb. 17

Backstage Pass: "The Wiz"

WHAT: Presented in partnership with the African American Film Critics Association, join us for an afternoon spotlighting the famed Broadway Musical, "The Wiz," with the producers and creative team responsible for the Broadway bound reboot. The program will feature a lively conversation, followed by an audience Q&A in the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater, and will be hosted by AAFCA President, Gil Robertson, and GRAMMY Museum Education & Community Engagement Manager, Schyler O’Neal. The program is free (four tickets per household).

WHEN: 1 p.m.

REGISTER: Click here.

Thurs., Feb. 22

History of Hip-Hop Education Workshop

WHAT: In celebration of the 50 years of hip-hop, this workshop examines the unique evolution of Hip Hop from its origin to where the genre is today. Highlighting the golden age of Hip Hop, this lesson will provide students with a greater understanding of the struggles and triumphs of the genre.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

REGISTER: Click here.

Reel To Reel: A Hip Hop Story

WHAT: In conjunction with the GRAMMY Museum's exhibit, Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to host a special screening of A Hip Hop Story with a post-screening conversation featuring Affion Crockett to follow.

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

Sun., Feb. 25

Lunar New Year Celebration

WHAT: Join us for a special program celebrating Lunar New Year as we usher in the Year of the Dragon with a performance by the South Coast Chinese Orchestra. The orchestra is from Orange County and uses both traditional Chinese instruments and western string instruments. It is led by Music Director, Jiangli Yu, Conductor, Bin He, and Executive Director, Yulan Chung. The program will take place in the Clive Davis Theater. This program is made possible by the generous support of Preferred Bank. The program is free (four tickets per household).

WHEN: 1:30 p.m.

REGISTER: Click here.

Tues., Feb. 27

A Conversation With Nicole Avant

WHAT: The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome best-selling author, award-winning film producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ambassador Nicole Avant to the museum’s intimate 200-seat Clive Davis Theater for a conversation moderated by Jimmy Jam about her new memoir Think You’ll Be Happy – Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace and Gratitude. All ticket buyers will receive a signed copy of the book.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  

REGISTER: Click here.

GRAMMY.com’s 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop Coverage: A Recap

GRAMMY Museum Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation From The Ray Charles Foundation
Ray Charles plays piano as he performs onstage in Portugal in 1988.

Photo: Rita Barros / Getty Images

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GRAMMY Museum Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation From The Ray Charles Foundation

On Jan. 29, an official GRAMMY Week event will celebrate the renaming of the GRAMMY Museum's rooftop terrace, in honor of Ray Charles' legacy. The event is hosted by GRAMMY-winning producer Jimmy Jam, with artists Aloe Blacc and DJ Khalil.

GRAMMYs/Jan 18, 2024 - 03:03 pm

The GRAMMY Museum Foundation has received a $2 million donation from the Ray Charles Foundation. To celebrate this gift and honor Ray Charles’ lasting legacy as one of the most iconic and celebrated artists of all time, the GRAMMY Museum will rename their rooftop terrace The Ray Charles Terrace at the GRAMMY Museum.

Funds from this gift will go towards the Museum’s Campaign For Music Education, which launched in Oct. 2022 and aims to expand access to the Museum’s education programs, including GRAMMY In The Schools programming.

An official GRAMMY Week event honoring the terrace renaming will take place the evening of Mon, Jan. 29, ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs. The ribbon-cutting celebration, hosted by GRAMMY-winning producer Jimmy Jam, will feature a red carpet, cocktail reception, and music curation by GRAMMY-winning DJ Khalil — as well as a performance by GRAMMY nominee Aloe Blacc, who will perform some of Ray Charles’ biggest hits. 

The GRAMMY Museum’s rooftop terrace serves as an incredible resource for the museum and the community, boasting phenomenal 180-degree views of downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign, and hosting more than 150 events each year, making it one of the most sought-after venues in downtown Los Angeles.

“The GRAMMY Museum embodies the spirit of our mission to empower young people through education,” says Valerie Ervin, President of The Ray Charles Foundation. “We are thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with the Museum and help them achieve their goal of expanding music education and fostering a love of music in our next generation.” 

“As the GRAMMY Museum celebrates our 15th anniversary, more than ever we are leaning into expanding music education and access to our renowned programs,” said Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum. “We are incredibly grateful to our partners, the Ray Charles Foundation, for their generosity and investment towards the Museum’s Campaign for Music Education, which will help us further our educational mission. It’s an honor to deepen our longstanding relationship.”

The GRAMMY Museum’s Campaign For Music Education launched in Oct. 2022 with the goal of raising money for their educational endowment and programs. The funds raised will expand access to their music education programs across the country. The campaign is co-chaired by some of the biggest names in music, including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes, and Rosalía. The GRAMMY Museum’s objective is to eliminate the financial burden to access music education and foster the next generation of music’s creators and leaders. The campaign is a call to action for the music industry, with labels, publishers, artists, promoters, and more coming together to ensure that music education is accessible, sustainable and available for any and all who want it. 

GRAMMY In The Schools is the “umbrella” name for all GRAMMY Museum Foundation education activities, which fund school music programs, provide valuable career guidance, and honor teachers and students nationwide. Some of these programs include GRAMMY Camp, GRAMMY In The Schools Fest, GRAMMY In The Schools Sessions, GRAMMY Museum Student Showcase, and GRAMMY In The Schools Workshops. Additionally, the Music Educator Award presented by the GRAMMY Museum and the Recording Academy, honors outstanding music educators. Lastly, we expanded our online presence with the GRAMMY In The Schools Learning Hub, which is an online resource allowing educators, students, parents, music professionals, and music lovers to gain valuable insights and strategies on anything involving music. 

The GRAMMY Museum, currently celebrating its 15th anniversary, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and exploring music from yesterday and today to inspire the music of tomorrow through exhibits, education, grants, preservation initiatives, and public programming. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum values and celebrates the dynamic connection in people’s diverse backgrounds and music’s many genres, telling stories that inspire us, and creative expression that leads change in our industry. 

The Ray Charles Foundation is dedicated to providing support in the area of hearing disorders and the empowerment of young people through education by offering support to educational institutions and non-profit education programs. Ray Charles said, “The inability to hear is a handicap; not the inability to see.” The vision of The Ray Charles Foundation is to instill in the youth of America that “there is no challenge too great one cannot overcome.” 

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Coco Jones On Her Breakthrough Year, Turning Rejection Into Purpose & Learning From Babyface
Coco Jones

Photo: Courtesy Coco Jones

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Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Coco Jones On Her Breakthrough Year, Turning Rejection Into Purpose & Learning From Babyface

Coco Jones is nominated across five categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs, including Best New Artist and Best R&B Album for her EP, 'What I Didn't Tell You.' The first-time nominee discussed her hit, "ICU," working with legends and the power of representation.

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2024 - 02:23 pm

Coco Jones is feeling more inspired than ever following a year of exciting surprises and breakthroughs. In 2023, the 25-year-old budding star celebrated her first Billboard Hot 100 entry thanks to her platinum-selling "ICU" single, embarked on her first headlining tour, and earned her first GRAMMY nominations.

"Being a GRAMMY-nominated artist changes everything. It's such a different creative mindset when the world says, 'You're good, we like what you do,'" Jones tells GRAMMY.com. "It's like a gold star. It makes you want to work harder, it makes you wanna continue to impress, and it makes you impressed with yourself, too."

Jones is nominated across five categories at the 2024 GRAMMYs: Her 2022 EP What I Didn't Tell You is up for Best R&B Album and its "ICU" will compete for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. Her feature on Babyface's "Simple" has received a nod for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Jones is also up for the coveted golden gramophone for Best New Artist.

In recent years, her vocal prowess has received praise from SZA, Janet Jackson, and Beyoncé, but anyone who's even remotely familiar with Jones' story knows that her newfound success is anything but overnight. Jones first found success at age 14, when she starred in the 2012 Disney movie musical Let It Shine. The Tennessee native faced colorism early on, which she addressed in a 2020 YouTube video that went viral.

"I always wanted that representation that my dreams were possible growing up," she shares. "I definitely was not based in reality of what the entertainment industry is. It's tough and it's challenging and sometimes it isn't fair and that is not what I was prepared for as a kid."

During the pandemic, Jones secured a spot in "Bel-Air" (Peacock's reimagining of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") as the spoiled yet beloved Hilary Banks, but she never let go of her love of  music. Following her 2014 departure from Hollywood Records, Jones released music independently, including the ominous "Hollyweird" and "Depressed"; when Def Jam approached her in the summer of 2021, she was ready for her close-up.

Fast forward to present, and Jones is gearing up for one of the most pivotal nights of her blossoming career. But perhaps the most precious thing she's collected along the way is self-assurance. "I'm learning that I have to believe in my creative choices and that I shouldn't second guess what I feel because it does well," she says with a laugh.

Of her recent success, Jones says the back-to-back accolades shocked her, but like a true artist, she's already thinking ahead and manifesting an exciting first for 2024: "I want my debut album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart."

Ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs, Jones discusses the power of representation for dark-skinned Black women, why her mother is her biggest inspiration, and how joining forces with Babyface created momentum in her career.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

After finding out that you received five GRAMMY nominations, you posted an Instagram video showing you and your mother reveling in the excitement of it all. Tell me more about that moment and your mother's role in this journey.

I'm one of four children and my mom owned multiple businesses, but she made us all feel loved and supported while also being a boss. Watching her navigate the entertainment industry — which she had no prior experience with — was very inspiring. She took every challenge head-on and still managed to make time with all of her kids. 

She's always been a visionary, so I think for her, it's like, This is exactly what we worked for. The end goal is to be award-winning, to be show-stopping, to be classic, to be timeless. That's what she saw for me even when I was a little girl on stage singing Aretha Franklin.

There were times when it was hard for me to see what she saw in me, especially when you're dealing with the rejection that is the music industry. But she always knows the right thing to say to keep me going and to keep my faith. So, when it wasn't like how it is now, she was the entire team. She did anything she could to help me progress.

You retweeted a meet-and-greet with a fan, who donned your merch from 2018, which seemed to take you by surprise. It seems like your 2023 breakthrough was a win for not just yourself, but for those early supporters as well.

I would definitely say it's a win for my fans and my supporters, but also for young Black women who look like me and have big dreams and just want to see what they are dreaming about is possible. I know that I inspire so many young Black women — they tell me almost every day that seeing me win helps them believe in themselves winning.

My goal is to continue to break those barriers down for young Black women so that it's not such a surprise when we succeed.

In a 2022 interview, you said you wanted to experience the highs of being an entertainer and being on stage "even if it meant a lot of lows." Many creatives feel that way. Do you have any advice for struggling artists who feel like no one's paying attention?

You can make it this thing where you feel like you're running out of time, or you can make it feel like you're adjusting to time. Time is whatever you decide it is.

There were so many obstacles I didn't understand, but hindsight is 20/20. I needed the lessons that I learned, I needed the self-reliance, I needed the optimism and the faith. So, I think it was all very growing but still tough not knowing what was going to happen, not knowing if I was going to have that life-changing job, that life-changing song. 

I'm just grateful to God for protecting me through all the confusion and for not giving up. I had enough support around me and enough doors to open even though they felt far and few between to keep me sustained and pursuing this dream, even though I was pursuing it without any guarantees.

What I Didn't Tell You isn't the first EP you released, but it's the one that made you a first-time GRAMMY nominee. What was different this time around?

I was very supported; when Def Jam approached me, they seemed so understanding of my vision that I couldn't help but feel like we were already a team. They helped me put the pieces together. Before this, I was just on my own or it was me and my mom, so I felt more supported with this EP release. My label understands me and what I want to be, and there's no pushback against who I am and what I can naturally do. It's all about enhancing. 

As part of R&B's new class, what do you want to bring to the genre?

More uptempo! I want to be able to sing my heart out but make a bop that you wanna dance to. I love how Whitney Houston would do that with some of her songs like "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and "How Will I Know."

Your breakthrough single, "ICU," is up for Best R&B Song, but what lesser-known song off What I Didn't Tell You (Deluxe) would you nominate in the same category if you could?

"Fallin'" because it's a sensual song, and I feel like it sits in a really cool, pretty place in my voice. It also tells a good story of the chaos that my life is while also starting to fall for somebody.

In 2022, you joined forces with R&B legend Babyface for his collaborative Girls Night Out project. Your "Simple" duet with him is nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Do you think collaborating with Babyface acted as a precursor for the incredible year you had?

When I learned Babyface wanted me on his album, I was beside myself. He was really one of the first legends to give me that stamp of approval. I definitely think the recognition I got from him was like a turning point in what was next for my life. The world started to notice around that time. 

When I interviewed Babyface soon after the release of Girls Night Out, he talked about doing his homework to better understand the differences in today's R&B. That was surprising to hear, because he's clearly an expert at writing hit songs but not above learning from others. What did you learn from his mentorship?

I just learned that you can be a legend and you can still be open to ideas, open to new talents, and open to suggestions. Just stay open to what’s new, who's new, and why they're doing well, and that's what will keep you legendary. 

I'm a big fan of studying music, so I will continue to be a student. Creating music and studying music are two different things to me. I study it and then I feel creative, so I think it's about separating them because sometimes if you're creating while studying, you just end up repeating exactly what somebody's doing and that doesn't feel authentic. It's more about getting inspired and then creating.

My love for music and being a creative is what keeps me going because it's not always fun, it's not always easy. Sometimes it's about business, sometimes it's about pushing past your exhaustion. I don't think I would do that, not for this long, if I didn't love the payoff of being a creative. 

How will you celebrate if you win a GRAMMY?

I haven't thought about how I'm gonna celebrate. I think my favorite type of celebrations are intimate. They're with people who are in the mud with me — my family, my team. I would probably just want to have a great dinner and think about how far we've come and what's next.

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Inside Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip-Hop At The GRAMMY Museum
(From left) Harvey Mason Jr., Lady London, Jimmy Jam, and Linda Duncombe

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Inside Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years Of Hip-Hop At The GRAMMY Museum

"Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop," Jimmy Jam said during the celebratory event Resonance, which honored the legacy of hip-hop at the GRAMMY Museum.

GRAMMYs/Dec 8, 2023 - 11:46 pm

The Recording Academy is continuing to honor the legacy of hip-hop, to one of the most popular genres of music in America. Held on Dec. 4 at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Resonance: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop was presented by the Academy's Black Music Collective and sponsored by City National Bank.

The Resonance event took over the Museum's fourth floor, which is home to the recently unveiled "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit." There, members and leadership from the Academy and BMC, along with musicians and industry professionals, celebrated 50 years of music that has transcended boundaries, inspired advocacy and fostered impactful social change. 

Guests were welcomed into the space by an unparalleled collection of artifacts — an ode to the genre through memorabilia and interactive displays showcasing the evolution of hip-hop music and culture. Tupac’s all-white suit — worn in the last video he made — is displayed next to Notorious B.I.G.'s red leather pea jacket worn in the music video for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s "Players Anthem." The impact of the museum’s intentionally curated collection evokes the extended struggle of the Black experience in America, while celebrating its culture, creativity, and endurance against all odds.

The power of connection and representation was emphasized by five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, an R&B songwriter, music producer, and illustrious GRAMMY Museum Board Member. "The idea of 'resonance' struck a chord in me because the mission is unification, amplification and to celebrate Black music. Nothing resonates more in our everyday lives than hip-hop." 

A legendary figure who made his mark in the '80s by producing artists such as Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and producing partner Terry Lewis, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. 

"I'm proud to have known my partner Terry Lewis for 50 years. We were raised on hip-hop," he told the crowd. "Hip-hop inspires, it embodies transcendence. Hip-hop advocates and fosters social change, and the cultural significance is astounding."

Jimmy Jam highlighted the integral role of partnerships between the Black Music Collective and sponsor/supporters such as City National Bank and Amazon Music. Such relationships have enabled the third year of the Amazon Music-sponsored Your Future Is Now, a scholarship program.

"We have the opportunity to pour knowledge, resources and many opportunities into the young talent and the young creatives of the future. And that's what we're here to do," he continued.

GRAMMY Museum Board Member and Executive Vice President of City National Bank, Linda Duncombe, who was introduced by Jimmy Jam as "music’s best friend" spoke to the critical work of support. 

"We protect and celebrate those who have shared their gift as well as ensure their artistic contributions are accessible for people of all walks of life around the world and for future generations," she said, adding that as a Museum board member, "educating the next generation of artists and teachers is always top of mind. The 'Mixtape Exhibit' really will inspire students to pursue hip hop and the music industry."

Host Lady London, a rapper and songwriter from The Bronx summed up the power of hip-hop and its ability to transcend music. A hyped crowd enthusiastically received her words.

"It's beautiful to see what we have been able to cultivate in such a short amount of time. We are the culture, we have the power to shift the culture and we continue to move mountains," she said. "We are influences in fashion and design and the Black family education, economic empowerment, the arts. We're limitless.

"We have balanced everything and there is nothing that is quite parallel to that," Lady London continued. "I'm so proud to be a part of the culture."

As guests mingled among the exhibits many displays and highlights like original lyric sketches, mixtapes, and an interactive "sonic playground" where guests could interact with recording devices, make 808 beats and record tracks. Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. reflected on the culmination of a year celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. 

"Hip hop has been a defining force in our culture and it is so important to be able to honor it in this way" he said. "This is the end of a year that started with us celebrating at our GRAMMY Awards show last season."

Los Angeles' DJ Jadaboo — who has performed for Tommy Hilfiger at New York Fashion Week and a slew of celebrity parties and high profile events — set the vibe all night. Her mix spanned all five decades of the genre and beyond, from R&B to hip hop classics by Jay-Z and Drake, stacking much-sampled songs like Curtis Mayfield’s "Pusher Man" into the set. 

As the event carried on, Jimmy Jam’s earlier remarks echoed between the museum’s walls. "Look at what's been done in the last 50 years. You see it all around here," he said. "Now take a look at each other and know all that is happening right now… is because we are the people that are gonna continue to carry this on for another 50 years."

The GRAMMY Museum’s "Hip Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit" runs through Sept. 4, 2024. "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop" will air Sunday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and 8 to 10 p.m. PT on the CBS Television Network, and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

How To Watch "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop": Air Date, Performers Lineup, Streaming Channel & More