It was long time coming for HIP HOP culture to have its own place to celebrate its greats influence to the world of music, culture, dance and much more. The Universal Hip Hop Museum is part of a $65 million development project in the South Bronx, called “Bronx Point.”  The project also includes space for nonprofit organizations and affordable housing.

Bronx-born Rocky Bucano serves as executive director of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum. “We knew it was important because the Bronx is where hip-hop started,” Bucano told CNN. “It’s crazy to think of how hip-hop — which has such an influence on pop culture, advertising, politics — doesn’t have a place to call home.”

In 2018, the Universal Hip Hop Museum announced that Public Enemy’s Chuck D would serve as the chairman of the museum’s celebrity board, joining UHHM’s chairman of the board Kurtis Blow; UHMM cultural ambassadors include Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy.

The museum will have many installations and rooms focusing on all of the Hip Hop elements. They even teamed up with “The [R]evolution of Hip Hop Breakbeat Narratives,” a team led by D. Fox Harrell, professor of digital media and artificial intelligence and director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, to created an art installation that takes museum-goers on an interactive, personalized journey through hip hop history.

The timing could not have been any better. Construction of the UHHM, as part of Bronx Point, would have begun in July 2020 and its completion was scheduled for 2023. The grand opening would have coincided with the 50th anniversary of the musical genre and culture born in the Bronx.

Unfortunately, due to the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic, the progress of the UHHM felt the effects of this deadly virus.  The UHHM’s preview exhibit, The [R]Evolution of Hip Hop, at the Bronx Terminal Market had to be shut down in March and like most construction projects across New York, the groundbreaking had to be delayed.

As such, the UHHM will not be ready for visitors in time for Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary.  However, this doesn’t mean our momentum has come to a halt. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Construction on Bronx Point is now planned to start in late 2020.
  • A special on-site celebration is being planned for Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary in 2023.
  • The UHHM is planning to open its doors in 2024.
  • Bronx Point is considered a “transformative mixed-use development of approximately 530,000 SF that will bring affordable housing, educational community facilities, dynamic retail uses, and engaging new open space along the Harlem River waterfront in the South Bronx.”
  • The UHHM is an essential part of Bronx Point as it will be the “cultural anchor” of this project.
  • Bronx Point is considered one of the 10 biggest projects announced in 2019 in New York City.
  • “Bronx Point advances the City and community’s long-standing goal of increasing parkland in the South Bronx while catalyzing the rebirth of the borough’s burgeoning Harlem River waterfront.”
  • COVID-19 will NOT stop Hip Hop’s most important project: The Universal Hip Hop Museum!