DJ Kool Herc Tearfully Accepts Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

DJ Kool Herc broke down in tears while accepting the Musical Influence honor during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2023 induction ceremony.

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DJ Kool Herc had an emotional response to being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

During the induction ceremony at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Fri., Herc, born Clive Campbell, was joined by his sister, Cindy Campbell, and presenter LL Cool J. In his speech, LL acknowledged Herc throwing Cindy a birthday party and back-to-school fundraiser at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. Held on August 9, 1973, legend has it that the event signaled the genesis of Hip-Hop.

“Soon, all of New York City knew him as DJ Kool Herc. Herc had learned about the dancehall music and toasting he heard in his native country of Jamaica," LL said. He moved to the Bronx with his family when he was 12 and he molded it into a new form of music that evolved into a street culture—DJing, rapping or MCing, b-boying, better known as breakdancing, writing, better known as graffiti—Herc has his hand in every area of hip-hop.”

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“It’s a culture that changed my life, obviously,” LL added. “It changed the lives of millions and millions of people.”

Approaching the stage to accept his award, Herc said, “I got tears in my eyes" before saluting his parents Keith and Nettie Campbell alongside Black music legends such as late artists James Brown and Harry Belafonte.

Herc then passed the mic to his sister, who thanked LL for his "heartfelt introduction." "I want to congratulate my brother DJ Kool Herc for staying on that path and getting where he is today. Congratulations to my brother," she continued.

Herc joins fellow 2023 Rock Hall inductees Missy Elliott, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, Sheryl Crow, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, and the Spinners. In an explainer from Rock Hall, the legendary DJ's "innovation and experimentation with music helped create the blueprint for hip-hop and set the stage for future artists to build upon."

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