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Black Music Month: Freetown Village hosts monthly conversation on Indiana’s Black heritage

Black Music Month: Telling the history of Hip-Hop in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Freetown Village, a living history museum dedicated to educating the public about African American lives, arts, and culture in Indiana, invites the community to its monthly conversation series.

This event will feature discussions with historians, researchers, and educators on topics related to Indiana’s Black heritage.

The upcoming conversation, scheduled for Thursday, will highlight the rich history and evolution of hip-hop in Indianapolis. The featured speaker is Wildstyle Paschal, a local artist, historian, and activist renowned for his extensive knowledge of Black Indianapolis history and his contributions to the local hip-hop scene.

Paschall stopped by WISH-TV to chat with Daybreak’s Jeremy Jenkins about the event.

“It’s gonna be a wild conversation because I think a lot of people don’t realize how much hip hop was hated at first, even just by the establishment, by the other musicians,” Paschal stated.

The artist and historian will take attendees on a journey through the transformation of Indianapolis hip-hop, which has seen significant changes since the 1980s. Back then, local radio stations were reluctant to play rap music.

“They were talking about some stuff about real life in a way that had never been talked about in mainstream music before. And they weren’t polite, they weren’t tactful about what they were saying, and people felt a type of way about it. They did not want everybody experiencing rap and hip hop like that.” Paschal stated.

Despite these challenges, the scene thrived in the 1990s with the legendary NAP rap group, followed by influential acts like the Mudkids, Trilogy, and Nappyville in the 2000s. Throughout these decades, Naptown’s passion for its hip-hop culture has remained steadfast.

This presentation aims to celebrate and shed light on Indianapolis’ contributions to hip-hop, showcasing how local artists have shaped and influenced the genre. Paschal hopes the event will have a positive influence on people who may not know the storied musical history of Indy’s hip-hop landscape.

“People today need to understand that all of this stuff, that new stuff that pops up, and you’re like, “Oh, I hate it, this is terrible.” They’ve said that about every genre of music, even with jazz when it wasn’t any words. You could look at the same stuff they said against jazz and apply it to rock and roll, to hip hop, and whatever else, other subgenres of hip hop today,” Paschal stated.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. at Indiana Landmarks at 1201 Central Ave. The talk will begin at 6 p.m. and will be available in person and online. Admission is free, but registration is required to attend.

For more information and to register for the event, visit Freetown Village’s website or watch the full interview above.