Plans are under way for a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum, which will open in November and be located in New York. Organizers of the museum -- including Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Awards founder/executive produ

Plans are under way for a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum, which will open in November and be located in New York. Organizers of the museum -- including Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Awards founder/executive producer James "J.T." Thompson and legendary artist Grandmaster Caz -- held a press conference Friday (April 16) in New York to announce plans for a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame mini-empire, which will include the museum, a televised awards show and a TV network called Hip-Hop 1. The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum will house hip-hop memorabilia and historical records, as well as a TV studio for Hip-Hop 1, a retail store and a themed restaurant.

The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame ceremony was first televised on BET in 1996, but organizers say competition from the Source Hip-Hop Awards (which has been televised on UPN and BET) in part hindered plans to bring the award show back to TV. But with the planned opening of the museum in November, organizers are aiming to televise the next Hip-Hop Hall of Fame ceremony, which will take place in February 2005. The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame also plans to stage other events, including the Urban Music Festival and Back 2 School Music & Fashion Fest. The 1999 Urban Music Festival, featuring Goodie Mob and the Ying Yang Twins, aired on NBC.

There will also be a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame reunion concert featuring host Grandmaster Caz and performances by several artists, including Rob Base, Melle Mel and Raheim. The concert will take place May 19 at private location in New York. Thompson says that the organization is in talks with the USA Network and the Fox TV network to televise the reunion concert, which may be released on home video/DVD.

Grandmaster Caz is also the president of the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame's music and video operations. Hip-Hop 1, headed by chief programming officer Craig Cason, is expected to initially launch later this year on satellite TV for up to 10 hours a week and expand to 24-hour programming next year.

The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame organizers say that they will reveal the exact location of the museum at a later date, but they did confirm that it will be an existing building in midtown Manhattan that has been acquired by the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame.

The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame will have two divisions: the nonprofit arm Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Foundation overseeing the museum, and the for-profit Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Holdings for the TV network and other commercial ventures.

According to Thompson, Atlanta-based Jackson Securities is the main investor funding these ventures. Thompson says that the primary goal is for the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Museum to be "the mecca and cultural center for hip-hop around the world. It will be the place for the preservation and accurate record-keeping of hip-hop. But it's not going to be just about hip-hop music; it will also be an empowering and uplifting center for the urban community."

The museum plans to host workshops and seminars aimed at improving communities and hip-hop relations in the music industry.

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