My "Hip Hop Inspired Architecture" exhibit at the 2014 AIA Convention in Chicago, Illinois was dedicated to the memory of my son, Michael Ford III, affectionately known as MJ3. The pain of losing my son has fueled my passion for reading and connecting dots which few individuals before me have ventured to connect. The dark hours spent mourning MJ3's death, created a craving for tranquility that only a book can provide. Since my son's passing, my research has gotten deeper and some even describe it as dark at times, as I reveal little known truths about the history of architecture, art and black culture all of which provide a basis for why society needs and subconsciously yearns for a hip hop inspired architecture. My ultimate goal in this exhibit is to provide a new architectural vernacular to serve as the vessel which allows the small population of underrepresented architects, specifically African Americans, who comprise only 3% of all licensed architects in America, to transcend the limitations that typically encumber our retention rates in architectural schools and those limitations which prevent us from becoming well known architects.
The quote above served as a catalysis for the advancement of my research since the completion of my original thesis. Hip hop is a complex social phenomenon worthy of accurate historical documentation and dissemination, as well as academic research and advancement of its' arts. For far too long, hip hop as a whole has been limited to the corporate monopoly which has a strangle hold on society's introduction and understanding of the culture, primarily through its music component. We as hip hoppers must work to relinquish medias' monopoly and be the voices which define our culture and the directions in which we, the hip hop generation, will propel our culture and its elements.