AMC celebrated the highly-anticipated series premiere of Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America with a special event at the world-famous Apollo Theater in New York City on October 7. During the event, there was a screening of the premiere episode "Jesus Walks” and a special performance by The Roots.
The series was executive produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Alex Gibney, Shawn Gee, Angie Day, Rich Perello, and Shea Serrano and directed by Erik Parker and One9.
Guests in attendance included Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, Growing Up Hip Hop: New York cast members Lil Mama and her brother Arnstar, Flava Flav’s son William Drayton Jr, Irv Gotti’s daughter Angie Pearson, and well-known hip-hop manager Madina Milana.
Questlove and Black Thought kicked off the night with an introduction of Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America to a packed house. Questlove called the series “a labor of love,” and Black Thought shared his excitement for “being able to tell the stories of the culture.”
After the audience enjoyed a screening of the premiere episode, “Jesus Walks,” they were surprised with a live performance by the ARC (Addicts Rehabilitation Center) choir, who are responsible for the gospel track Kanye West sampled for his hit song.
The emotional performance received a standing ovation by the moved crowd. Keeping everyone on their feet, The Roots joined the stage to bring the house down with a lively performance that included special guest DMC of RUN DMC fame.
Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America premieres Sunday, October 13 at 12:00am ET/PT on AMC. Each of the six episodes focuses on a groundbreaking song pivotal to the evolution of American music and culture. Artists, their collaborators and other influential musical and cultural figures deconstruct compositions, revisit the impact the song had on them personally, and dissect the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work.