Photo: Charlie Ahearn

Wild Style

How could a movement that began in the Bronx with a group of 100 children assume a global identity? The photo exhibition "Wild Style" takes us on a journey back in time to the roots of Hip hop, to the beginning of it all.

The exhibition was shown 17 January 2008 until summer 2008.

This is an exhibition for the inveterate as well as for the inquisitive. For those who are already familiar with the history and for those who would like to learn something completely new. Among the images are famous names such as Fab 5 Freddy, Rocky Steady Crew and Debbie Harry.
Charlie Ahearn took the photographs during the preparatory work for the film "Wild Style" and will be visiting the museum in connection with the launching of the exhibition.

It all began in August 1973, when a young girl named Cindy Campbell hosted a party at the legendary address 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in West Bronx, New York. Together with her older brother, Clive, she planned the famous party. Cindy took care of renting a recreation room and buying the beverages. Clive, who had been DJing for a while in the area under the name DJ Kool Herc, borrowed the sound system from their father, who also was a local DJ. They made handwritten invitations, together with their friends, that they handed out around the Bronx. Since the siblings could not afford a disco ball or cool light effects, they put a guy by the light switch in the room, and he would flick it when Herc told him to.

The audience was not very receptive to the dancehall music that Herc started out the night with; instead the dance floor really came to life when he started playing soul and funk hits. A couple of hundred party people were moving to James Brown's songs and to further elevate the energy, Herc took the mic and with his encouraging shouts he was able to carry the crowd even higher. The party was a success and later when the siblings were counting their profits, they had no idea that they just had created the starting point for one of the world's greatest popular cultures.

The Four Elements of Hip-Hop

Hip-hop is a lifestyle that grew out of New York during the early 70s. Since then, it has become a lively part of modern and global popular culture. Hip-hop has four elements consisting of: MC (rap), DJing, graffiti and breakdance. Knowledge about the hip-hop culture is an important part of all the elements, so significant that it sometimes is described as the fifth element.

Wild Style - The Movie

The movie, Wild Style by Charlie Ahearn, premiered in 1982 and is the first motion picture about hip-hop. It came to inspire a whole generation of young people around the world. Wild Style captured the hip-hop scene in the South Bronx and the main characters are played by rappers, DJs, breakers and graffiti writers of that time. Today it is seen as a cult film. The photographs in the exhibition are taken by moviemaker Charlie Ahearn and were part of the preparations for the movie Wild Style.

Enjoy some great moves from the battle at the museum's hip hop festival!