Here’s What Happens When Jefe and GoldLink Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture
On Sept. 24, in a historical inauguration that included honorary guests such as President Barack Obama, former president George Bush, Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith, the National Museum of African American History and Culture finally opened its doors. The Smithsonian Institution prides itself on being the place to understand American history through the lens of the African American experience.
First announcing plans to build in 2006, 13 years later the NMAAHC sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and includes thousands of artifacts relating to African American history, culture and music dating back to the 1500s.
Although efforts to open an establishment dedicated to this experience can be traced back to the early 1900s, a serious initiative to do so didn't take place until 2003. George W. Bush was in office at the time and signed the legislation, which kicked off early efforts to build the museum. In 2006, the Smithsonian announced that the NMAAHC would be built between the National Museum of American History and the Washington Monument. The museum's groundbreaking ceremony took place on Feb. 22, 2012.
With the museum playing such a huge role in African American history and taking over 100 years to come to fruition, it covers 600 years of history relating to Black culture -- hip-hop included. Since the genre gets its fair share of shine in the building in D.C., home of 2015 XXL Freshmen Jefe and Goldlink, XXL invited the two rappers for an #XXLFieldTrip to the new museum. Check out what happens when Jefe and GoldLink take a tour through the National Museum of African American History and Culture for the first time. -- Interviews by Miranda J. and Sidney Madden
On the museum opening up their eyes about African American history:
Jefe: The experience that I had was wonderful. I'm amazed. I learned some stuff about my own city that I didn't know. For sure! the stuff that they had in there is not even in the schools in America. Everyone should join in to learn about our culture.
On what they liked most about the experience:
Jefe: Mainly the go-go and the hip-hop section because that's what i'm into. I was surprised to see go-go there. I think there's different artists that could be in that building.
GoldLink: It’s like, the whole hip-hop section was my favorite, but the go-go was the best part of that section because it’s like so tangible. And seeing your own culture, something you’re living now, in a museum, it just seems like it's living history. It’s tangible, what we’re living now. It makes it seem like that dream is not that far away.
On the go-go section:
GoldLink: I think it’s like go-go and hip-hop, or hip-hop and go-go that have really affected us because it’s all the way down to fashion, it’s down to how we talk to each other. So I think go-go and hip-hop are really big influencers that reign over everything right now. Black culture is reigning over everything. Like, everybody, when I was growing up, it was like... everything is divided by hoods. And that was the music that we all danced to. And then the go-go’s were so packed every weekend that the music’s influence carried on into our neighborhoods and it carried on into our schools. That gave us identity.
On the hip-hop section:
Jefe: It was deserved definitely because hip-hop is what shapes African American culture in every way from the streets through the industry and through corporate America. Hip-hop has made an influence on the whole world not just African Americans. But, yeah, that was a must because that's kind of a part of our race -- the music.
On the most surprising part about what they saw:
GoldLink: Surprising? They had Jordan and Nike commercials in there. Like old school commercials from the ‘80s. That was surprising ‘cause like, it shows how much Black culture affects everything.
On their overall thoughts about the museum:
Jefe: I think that they did an amazing job. I didn't know that they built it from the ground up. It's kind of similar to my situation, like no one [helped me] until later on. I think that they definitely achieved their goal.
GoldLink: Me and Shy are the ones from D.C. that could be in there. It’s right there, it’s right around the corner. Okay, just watch. They’re waiting for us. I loved everything about it!