‘Hamilton’ meets South Florida hip-hop at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale

“The History of Art and Hip Hop in South Florida” will feature a free “Hamilton”-themed evening of Southern hip hop, art demonstrations and dance and rap workshops on Jan. 3 at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
(NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and Joan Marcus / Courtesy)

While the hip-hop musical “Hamilton” salutes America’s forefathers at the Broward Center, the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will celebrate South Florida’s place in the rap landscape.

“A History of Art and Hip-Hop in South Florida,” opening at the museum on Jan. 3, will feature a “Hamilton”-themed evening of Southern hip-hop music, hip-hop art displays and breakdance workshops.

The hip-hop “symposium,” as NSU Art Museum calls it, coincides with the U.S. tour of “Hamilton,” which premiered on Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale and continues five more weeks until Jan. 20.

Here’s everything you should know about the museum’s hip-hop event.


What does the museum’s hip-hop event have to do with “Hamilton”?

The common denominator, of course, is hip-hop, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical carries winking nods to Mobb Deep, LL Cool J, Nas and even Beyonce. Think of “A History of Art and Hip-Hop in South Florida” as a pre-“Hamilton” palate-cleanser, showcasing the history of Miami bass, the 1980s rump-shaking, trailblazing hip-hop subgenre made popular by groups such as 2 Live Crew (“Me So Horny,” “Hootchie Mama”).

“Our hip-hop is a fusion of Latino influences, but also East Indian, African and the Caribbean,” says Bonnie Clearwater, the NSU Art Museum’s director. “We want to show how hip-hop gives power to people in South Florida.”

Who’s appearing at the NSU Art Museum event?

Three artists and one hip-hop dancer are on the bill. There’s Peruvian-born artist William Cordova, who grew up spraying graffiti across Miami buildings, his works making references to urban hip-hop culture with spare illustrations of boom boxes and LPs. Miami-Dade College graduate and sculptor Luis Gispert also uses hip-hop iconography, such as turntables and chrome tire rims, to celebrate urban culture. (His “Cheerleaders” series of photos, for example, depict “chongas,” Miami-spawned slang that refers to young working-class Latinas, usually from Hialeah.) Meanwhile, Kandy G. Lopez, a Florida Atlantic University graduate, creates oil portraits that salute the urban “swag” of individuals living in rough communities.

Cordova, Gispert and Lopez will join Clearwater in a 6-7 p.m. artist talk about the history of South Florida hip-hop. That will be preceded by a 4-6 p.m. dance workshop by hip-hop dancer Alonzo Williams, who uses dance as a tool for “self-expression, social justice and fighting subjugation,” he writes in an artist statement.

When and where is it?

The “History of Art and Hip-Hop in South Florida” will take place 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. The event is part of the museum’s free Starry Night Thursdays programming, and seating is limited. RSVP by calling 954-262-0258 and visiting this website, or go to

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