Allens Lane Art Center to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary

by Pryce Jamison
Posted 11/16/23

The Allens Lane Art Center is hosting a Nov. 18 “Salute to Hip-Hop’s 50th with R&B.”

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Allens Lane Art Center to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary


Five decades after the birth of hip-hop, tributes continue worldwide and the Allens Lane Art Center is bringing that energy straight to Mt. Airy with their upcoming celebration, “Salute to Hip-Hop’s 50th with R&B.”

“The stories told and the lives that have been changed because of [hip-hop used to be just] a reflection of a few people who were bold enough to speak out about how they were living and what it was like to live in their experiences,” said Mechele Abraham-Avery, program director of the Allens Lane Art Center. “To see it come to this is amazing — [This event] brings everyone in to participate in that.”

The 50-year anniversary event will be Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:00 p.m., and will include  performers within the genre representing various styles and perspectives that depict hip-hop’s vast evolution.

DJ Ill Soul will spin the turntables as the house DJ of the night. Rap artist Kuf Knotz will perform with harpist Christine Elise. R&B singer Hale will add her voice to the line-up with a soothing performance, and poet Bernard Collins will be reciting spoken word.

“The beauty behind hip-hop is the constant evolution of it,” Abraham-Avery said. “[The performers] represent what we can continue to do with this genre; I think it’s important that we don’t box ourselves in and limit ourselves with our experiences with hip-hop.”

Organizers encourage attendees to come dressed in their most festive attire as a tribute to the fashion trends set by hip-hop across the genre’s 50-year history.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Food and beverages will be available during the event, and attendees must be 21 or older.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Allens Lane, and Abraham-Avery, who’s been with the Art Center since December 2022, knows the vision the institution’s leaders want to uphold when planning cultural events.

“Our executive director, Vita Litvak, is also fairly new, so we came into Allens Lane with a vision of not only expanding our programming, but to also continue the legacy of Allens Lane which was founded on being diverse and being a reflection of its community,” Abraham-Avery said.

A Brooklyn native, Abraham-Avery has been a resident of Mt. Airy for over a decade. Not only has she grown to understand the center’s bond within the community, but she is focusing on  implementing programs and events that will continue to bring the people of Mt. Airy together at Allens Lane.

“I felt like I had to explore how we can create Allens Lane as a community hub and not only an art center,” Abraham-Avery said. 

To purchase tickets, visit