KRS-One Kicks Off Hip-Hop Appreciation Week

Chuck D, DJ Ralph McDaniels, Al Sharpton to turn out for events.

If KRS-One has his wish, members of the hip-hop community will form a tighter bond during the next seven days, and the general public will better understand the culture as well.

The fourth annual Hip-Hop Appreciation Week, KRS-One's brainchild, kicked off Monday (May 14) in New York. Produced by the rapper's Temple of Hiphop Kulture, the eight-day series of events (May 14 - May 21) — ranging from lectures to independent movie screenings and taking place in New York and New Jersey — is meant not only to celebrate the hip-hop community, but also to raise money for charity, heighten social consciousness and "decriminalize hip-hop's public image."

"In a time when our youth are in such an immediate need of moral guidance, concerned men and women cannot sit back and hope someone, someday, will offer such guidance," KRS said in a statement. "We have the ability and the resources to productively guide our youth, today! What we don't have is enough people that care. Everyone can do something."

Hip-hop notables KRS-One, Chuck D and DJ Ralph McDaniels will lecture during the week. Members of New York's political realm, including Reverend Al Sharpton, have also been scheduled to come out in support. Most of the activities are free and open to the public.

Among the week's highlights are a screening of the groundbreaking b-boy flick "Wild Style" on Wednesday night, with the movie's director Charlie Ahearn and legendary rap troupe the Cold Crush Brothers on hand to answer questions from the attendees. On Thursday, Chuck D and Poor Righteous Teachers' Wise Intelligent will be among the MCs expressing their views on the rap game at a town meeting with members of the Harlem community.

Sunday is shaping up to be Hip-Hop Appreciation Week's most anticipated day, with McDaniels hosting a block party in Brooklyn and KRS getting inducted into the Bronx Walk Hall of Fame earlier that morning. The Blastmaster joins the company of former inductees and Bronx natives such as Rita Moreno, Red Buttons and Stanley Kubrick.

Later that night, the Teacha will speak and perform at club SOB's as part of a fund raiser. The proceeds from the benefit will be going to the urban arts programs at Long Island City, Queens' Robert F. Wagner Secondary High School of the Arts.

Students at Wagner have the option of enrolling in the school's elevated arts program, where professionals in the music industry hold workshops to teach kids subjects such as video directing, graphic design, graffiti drawing and breakdancing. When a lack of funds threatened to end the program, one of the school's teachers tracked down KRS and asked for help. He agreed to make the benefit a part of the week's activities.

Plans for next year's Hip-Hop Appreciation Week are already underway. KRS founded the Temple of Hiphop in 1997 in order to promote and protect the nine elements of hip-hop, which he described in his statement as "Breakin, Emceein, Graffiti Art, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Street Language, Street Knowledge, Street Fashion and Street Entrepreneuralism." KRS said the membership in his non-profit organization has grown to 25,000.

KRS and his organization have put into action a voter registration drive, and in 1999 a Temple of Hiphop Kulture compilation album was released featuring artists such as Xzibit, Big Daddy Kane and Ras Kass.