Scripted in Black arts collective to celebrate 50 years of hip hop

Scripted in Black, a Dayton multidisciplinary arts collective, is celebrating a half-century of hip hop history with Dayton Metro Library Thursday.

The collective focuses on work made by Black and brown unconventional artists and does a yearly showcase event for its community. [BLACK]nificence, this year’s exhibition, is “a full-bodied day-long activation that addresses, dissects, uplifts, and celebrates different aspects of what hip hop is and how it has personified since its inception,” according to Dana Graham, founder and creative director.

“Scripted in Black was kind of born out of this frustration of not really having creative spaces, outlets and representation of Black and brown culture in the city,” she said. “I just noticed that the society was kind of switching to wanting more socially-forward experiences that are still rooted in arts and culture.”

As a Dayton native, Graham immediately knew her hometown needed a comfortable space for these experiences that catered to minorities in the community. She said the collective is very intentional with its “high-vibe” environment, which is curated with good and welcoming energy in mind. That high vibe is exactly what Scripted in Black wants to bring to Thursday’s celebration.

“Fifty years old for a music genre that has changed and shifted the culture is huge, especially for a genre that wasn’t slated to make it past a certain era,” Graham said. “They thought it was going to fade out. They didn’t think that it wasn’t important thing. They didn’t think that it was monumental in a sense of another way for Black and brown cultures to be able to tell their stories and to share their narratives in a way that made the most sense, which is music.”

Hip hop’s 50th birthday will be honored beginning at the library all day starting at noon, with featured visual and immersive exhibitions scheduled throughout the day. At noon, the visual art exhibit will be unveiled and visitors can browse the collection, which will remain in the main branch of the library until March 24. The exhibition will also be on display at the west and southeast branches of Dayton Metro Library in the summer and fall.

“Music is a very universal language, so that’s why we wanted to really take our time to celebrate all five pillars of hip hop, and also to serve as a as a resource of education for those who are not really familiar with that genre,” Graham added.

A closed workshop for Chaminade Julienne students, enabling them to create their own graffiti in a workshop hosted by artist Ash Guss, will be held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Lyve.Lyrics, [BLACK]nificence’s feature activation for the celebration, will showcase Midwestern artists DJ’ing, rapping and dancing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Lyve.Lyrics exists to provide this space to introspect, vibe out and feel the melodies collectively,” Graham said in a release. “By analyzing artists, musical projects and how the masses have perceived the art, we begin to understand ourselves (and) the many connections that we have with one another. Acknowledging how music, literature and creative energy can inspire the world, we recognize our power (and) celebrate the beauty that lies within us.”

The [BLACK]nificence exhibition is open to the public. However, the collective is committed to be authentic to hip hop culture, which may not be suitable for visitors under 18.


What: Scripted in Black’s [BLACK]nificence celebration of hip hop

When: Thursday, Feb. 23 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Dayton Metro Library - Main Branch, 215 E Third St., Dayton

Cost: Free and open to the public. RSVP is required at

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