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Gallery in Bed-Stuy pays tribute to the boombox

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 6/6/2013, 11:32 a.m.
Gallery in Bed-Stuy pays tribute to the boombox

As part of the VIP opening night festivities, Beavers honored Ralph McDaniels, creator of "Video Music Box," the first hip-hop music video show, widely credited with influencing what would become "Yo! MTV Raps." McDaniels shared some of his thoughts on the artwork.

"I think this is great because New York City has changed," said McDaniels. "We started 'Video Music Box' in 1983. I grew up in the '70s and New York City is not the same. It's a lot different, and this reminds us of the culture that we lost. There's a lot of culture that gets thrown away when the city gets busy and gentrification happens in areas like where we are right now.

While only depicted in old rap videos and New York-based films, the boombox still holds lore in the eyes of many despite new technologies rendering them obsolete. But McDaniels said that the exhibit did a great job of capturing what the boombox period meant.

All of the artists did a great job representing different eras, McDaniels said. "I remember going to 42nd Street and going into a store called Crazy Eddie and I would look and think, 'What am I gonna choose? Which box am I gonna get?' That's what it was like for me at 10 years old ...11 years old. I can't believe I was buying that stuff at that age, but that was our thing."

That "thing" influenced the lives of many New Yorkers and it got its just due in Bed-Stuy last Thursday. "The Boombox" runs through June 9 at the House of Art Gallery. For more info, visit www.hoagallery.com.