Hip Hop Honors Week is chance to solidify brands with culture

On October 12, New York City kicked off its first Hip Hop Honors Week to celebrate the culture and its impact on the city.

On October 12, New York City kicked off its first Hip Hop Honors Week to celebrate the culture and its impact on the city.

Lasting through October 17, the week of events is occurring in conjunction with VH1's third annual Hip Hop Honors Show, slated to air October 17 with host Ice-T.

"Hip-hop music was born in our city," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a release. "During Hip Hop Honors Week, New Yorkers will [be able] to celebrate an art form that has influenced generations and reached the farthest corners of the world."

Each day of Hip Hop Honors Week will celebrate a different aspect of hip-hop culture, including participation from restaurants, museums, sports teams, parks, and retailers.

Why does it matter?

"Hip-hop is the only form of mainstream music entertainment that matters to kids today," says Ronn Torossian, president and CEO of 5WPR, who adds that communicators need roots in the hip-hop community and must solidify partnerships with people from the community that actually like/use their brands.

"Nothing destroys your brand quicker than doing it the wrong way and not being authentic," he says, adding that brands must be aware that hip-hop isn't always politically correct.

"Hip-hop is today what Elvis Presley's swinging hips were in the 1950s. This is the evolution of entertainment," notes Torossian. "This isn't the rap of the 1980s. This is the maturization of that entire generation."

Five facts:

1 Billboard  recently hosted its seventh annual R&B Hip-Hop Conference and Awards in Atlanta where thought leaders and experts gathered to wax poetic about urban culture.

2 The Hip-Hop Association was formed to counter the misrepresentation of the culture. It promotes programs like H2Ed, an educational initiative to unite teachers, social workers, and youth under the hip-hop banner; and H2O, which promotes social awareness and youth empowerment via media.

3 One way to reach the younger end of the hip-hop demographic is Rap-Up magazine, a quarterly title for teens produced by two college students, who told The New York Times that it is a magazine "for Generation Y by Generation Y."

4 Web sites like www.FromHipHoptoHeaven.org allow religious groups to contact the hip-hop generation and promote scripture amongst the demographic. A slew of sites exist that connect religion and hip-hop culture.

5 Hip-hop has its roots in music and dance, but influences other things like art, in the form of graffiti, and clothing. Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Jay-Z, Marc Ecko, and Tommy Hilfiger all market clothing lines to the hip-hop lifestyle.

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