In the 1970s, D.J. Kool Herc and his sister Cindy Campbell were famous for throwing parties in the rec room of their Bronx high-rise at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, which became known as the “birthplace of hip-hop.”
Now some of the original vinyl records and turntables from those neighborhood jams, and other memorabilia, will be auctioned online in a sale organized by Christie’s with Payal Arts International, a consultancy practice.
The sale, from Aug. 4 through Aug. 18, represents a larger effort by Christie’s to reach out to a broader population of clients and collectors. An exhibition of the more than 200 items included in the sale will be open to the public at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries from Aug. 6 to Aug. 12, as part of Hip-Hop Recognition Month in New York City.
“For far too long, our country has neglected to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to the extent that is deserved,” Darius Himes, Christie’s international head of photographs, said in a statement. “The spirit of the parties that Herc and Cindy would throw were always about inclusion — people from all races and cultures across New York’s many neighborhoods would come to hear the best new music played loudly on Herc’s famous sound system.
“From the depths of Planet Rock, a.k.a. the Bronx — came a fire and energy that first captivated the 5 boroughs, and then permeated every facet of the globe,” Himes added. “There isn’t a country today whose youth haven’t been influenced by this movement. And it all started here, in New York City, by a talented Black American with very few resources.”
The sale will include disco balls, shoes, hats, belt buckles and jewelry of that pioneering period, as well as Polaroids of Herc and friends, and numerous awards.
“At our parties in 1970s New York, it was about something that was bigger than ourselves,” Herc, whose real name is Clive Campbell, said in a statement. “Hip-hop is both an American immigrant story and a global story — it belongs to everybody. And we can still see and feel it today.”