The remarkable foresight and achievements of Ralph McDaniels, whose New York area TV show “Video Music Box” helped bound hip-hop into the music mainstream around the world, is being honored in a exhibition of photography, painting, video installation and interactive digital art at the Museum of African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Fore Greene, Brooklyn.
“The Box That Rocks: 30 Years of Video Music Box and the Rise of Hip Hop Music & Culture” exhibit features artists Amy Andrieux, Malik Y. Cumbo, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Delphine Fawundu, Bobbito Garcia, Tahir Hemphill, Jonathan Mannion, Tim Okamura, M. Tony Peralta, Fab 5 Freddy, Ali Santana, Jamel Shabazz and Daniel Amazu Wasser.
The show is on display in the museum’s main gallery at the James E. Davis 80 Arts Building, 80 Hanson Place (at South Portland Ave.).
Exhibition curator Dexter Wimberly has created an artistic tribute to McDaniels and the show that manages to outdo multi-million dollar-budgeted outfits like MTV when it came to hip-hop music.
It’s amazing, but true. McDaniels, who has family roots in Trinidad, invested his time and money into Video Music in 1983 when hip-hop was in commercial infancy. Exposure on McDaniels’ New York show greatly boosted the popularity — and music sales — of many now famous stars such as Notorious B.I.G., Run-D.M.C., and Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. Video Music Box helped propel the genre from the streets of New York to the countless big-city boulevards, and back streets, all over world.
McDaniels also used the show to spread messages of unity, non-violence, anti-drug abuse, anti-crime, political activism and self-respect to his predominately young viewing audience.
Today, the show — which still features videos, on-location footage from nightspots and patrons’ animated “shout-outs” to family and friends — airs on NYC-TV Wednesdays at 11:30 p.m.