Brooklyn We Go Hard: Inside 'The Book of HOV' Exhibit
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The Book of HOV exhibit celebrates the life and times of the legendary JAY-Z.
“A Work of Art Already” room on Brooklyn Public Library’s main floor. PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
JAY-Z has long been established as an important pillar in not only hip-hop, but also pop culture. So, it was only a matter of time before his decades of impact were commemorated in an exhibit. The Book of HOV, which ran from July through December, celebrated the mogul’s career in music, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
The “HOV Did That” room PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
“[PUBLIC LIBRARIES’ ROLE] ALIGNS WITH JAY’S JOURNEY AND BELIEF THAT GENIUS RESIDES IN EVERYONE.” -DESIREE PEREZ
A recreation of JAY-Z’s Baseline Studios. PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
It featured “thousands of archived objects, including original recording masters, never-before-seen photos, iconic stage wear, prestigious awards and recognitions, as well as videos and artifacts from every facet of JAYZ’s professional life.” For those who were unable to visit, the official website features an interactive chapter-by-chapter recap, with narration by New York radio legend Angie Martinez and photos of each item.
The “Win-Win” room PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
Baseline Studios PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
“The community’s enormous response to this exhibition is a testament to JAY-Z’s incredible impact,” says Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We are thrilled to welcome hundreds of new patrons who are inspired by his life and career and, through the exhibit, are discovering all that the library has to offer—from storytimes and robotics programs to entrepreneurship workshops and a vinyl record collection. Brooklyn Public Library has something for every New Yorker, at every stage of life.”
The “Did It All Without A Pen” room. PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
“THE COMMUNITY’S ENORMOUS RESPONSE TO THIS EXHIBITION IS A TESTAMENT TO JAY-Z’S INCREDIBLE IMPACT.” -LINDA E. JOHNSON
The exhibit could’ve easily been held in a museum, but it was important for the team to place it in the public library, where anyone could walk in and enjoy it free of charge.
The “Business, Man” room PHOTO BY ANDREW ZAEH/COURTESY OF ROC NATION
“We wanted this exhibit to be accessible to all, with no financial barriers in place. Public libraries play a vital role in every community, serving as gateways to information and valuable resources,” says Desiree Perez, CEO of Roc Nation. “Th at aligns with JAY’s journey and belief that genius resides in everyone and the Brooklyn Public Library can serve as that very door to discovery.”
Upon entering the building, visitors were welcomed by a sculpture created by a mold of JAY-Z’s hands, where he’s throwing up the iconic “Roc” diamond sign. From there, the exhibit included original recording masters and vinyls (which visitors could listen to in the “Win-Win” room); memorabilia like the guitar he played at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival; and a recreation of the artist’s Baseline Studios where he recorded famous albums like 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, 2001’s The Blueprint and 2003’s The Black Album.
“The entire exhibit is special. If I had to choose one area, I would name ‘Win-Win.’ Th is part of the exhibit displays artifacts related to JAY-Z’s philanthropic work and his long-term commitment to advancing change and fighting for justice,” Perez says of her favorite part of The Book of HOV. “Using his platform to speak for those without a voice is a part of JAY’s DNA.”
In the famous words of the man himself, what more can we say?
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