“Straight Outta Fresno,” a project of Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative, will hold a project launch party and opening exhibit from 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at Fres.Co (1918 Fresno Street), highlighting the history of hip-hop in the Valley.

The “Straight Outta Fresno” project was developed in an effort to bring to light the largely hidden history of hip-hop culture in the Fresno area. In both history books and the popular imagination, hip-hop culture is interpreted as a creative response to the neglect and destruction of large, post-industrial, inner-city communities such as the Bronx, South Central Los Angeles, and Oakland.

“As important as these communities are to hip-hop’s origin stories, they often overshadow the contributions of smaller communities like Fresno whose working class youth have a long history of creating and adapting hip-hop culture,” said Dr. Romeo Guzman, history professor and founder of the project established in the fall 2016.

“Acknowledgements of Fresno’s contributions are, at best, sporadic and incomplete. As such, the driving force behind the Valley Public History Initiative’s “Straight Outta Fresno” project is providing a platform for multiple generations of Fresno youth to carve out a niche in hip-hop history that acknowledges and respects their creativity, struggle and hustle,” said Dr. Guzman.

With funding from California Humanities, Fresno State historians and students will organize a series of events scheduled for the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. Community members are invited to the “Straight Outta Fresno” launch party and exhibit Thursday, Dec. 7, at Fres.Co, a community space in downtown Fresno.

From 3 to 6 p.m., Fresno State faculty and graduate students will conduct walk-in oral history interviews with community members and scan any photographs and fliers related to hip-hop in Fresno. All documents collected at this event will be archived.

From 7 to 10 p.m., community members are invited to view the “Straight Outta Fresno” exhibit and to watch multiple generations of hip-hop dancers perform.

All oral histories and photographs collected during the launch and subsequent events will be archived and housed on the Henry Madden Library’s website. “Straight Outta Fresno” is a project of Fresno State’s Valley Public History Initiative: Preserving Our Stories, in collaboration with Fres.Co, Tropics of Meta and the local hip-hop community.

For more information, contact Professor Romeo Guzmán at romeog@csufresno.edu, Sean Slusser at seslusser@csufresno.edu or visit media partner Tropics of Meta.