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Kamala Harris says hip-hop is ‘the ultimate American art form’ as she hosts a 50th anniversary party

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary Saturday with performances by some of the music genre’s pioneers and stars.

Common, Jeezy, MC Lyte and Roxanne Shante were among the hip-hop artists invited to join Harris for the party at the vice presidential residence.

Hip-hop’s 50th anniversary has led to numerous anniversary events this year. Many trace the genre’s creation to a back-to-school party on August 11, 1973, where 18-year-old Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, deejayed at an apartment building in the Bronx in New York City.

Harris said hip-hop is “the ultimate American art form” that “shapes every aspect of American popular culture.”

“Hip-hop culture is American culture,” she told the audience.

Hip-hop has grown into a global art form and has become one of the most influential cultural forces in the world, an integral part of movements for social and racial justice and a multi-billion dollar industry built on generations of rapping, emceeing, deejaying, breaking and graffiti.

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Harris noted that Public Enemy rapper Chuck D has described rap as “Black America’s CNN.”

“It has always channeled the voice of the people. It tells the stories that don’t make the news,” she said before watching the musicians perform with her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Saturday’s celebration was a collaboration with Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective and Live Nation Urban.

“This is a hip-hop household!” said Emhoff.

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