Hip-hop legend Bobbito García presented a self-directed autobiographical film to a full-house on Tuesday, chronicling his ascension from a child struggling with alienation to a multi-talented icon.
In addition to being a celebrated figure in the hip-hop community, García is also an author, D.J. host, ballplayer and filmmaker, according to Ben Ortiz, curator of Cornell Hip-Hop Collection. Located in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library, the collection is the largest archive of its kind in the entire world with more than half a million of artifacts on hip-hop culture.
García first visited Cornell in 2015, during which he showed a film about his hip-hop radio show from the 1990s. Since then, he and the collection had built a connection, Ortiz said. After releasing a new autobiographical film Rock Rubber 45s this past summer, he wanted to screen it for the University.
Rock Rubber 45s explores “the connectivity of global basketball, sneaker and music lifestyles through the first-hand lens of authentic NYC culture orchestrator Bobbito García,” according to the film’s website.
Ortiz said he had organized the screening to help students and researchers broaden their understanding of the hip-hop genre. In the film, García not only discussed his participation in hip-hop culture but also his involvement with basketball and sneakers.
“To some people, the connectivity between those three things is obvious. But to other people, it’s a surprising realization to have,” Ortiz said, explaining that baseketball and sneakers are just as important as hip-hop in García’s life.
Ortiz described García as “a renaissance man who is multi-talented and multidimensional.” García is interested in education and in promoting Latino history, “the values of positive community and the history around social justice movement,” Ortiz told The Sun.
“As a person, he is incredibly intelligent, warm and sociable,” Ortiz added. “He is always excited to be in front of a crowd, and always has something really interesting to offer no matter what the event is.”
The event was met with a full house at the Africana Research Center multipurpose room, according to Ortiz. The Q&A session following the film screening lasted more than an hour, after which García was “gracious” and took pictures and gave hugs to the audience members, Ortiz said.
“Something that is really important about hip hop is that along with music, some of the core topics that you will find that hip-hop deals with are socioeconomic status, race, the co-mingling of disparate cultures,” Ortiz said. “Hip-hop is fundamentally something that brings people together … it helps people understand how many things came to be. ”