Gordon Parks; XXL Magazine; Harlem
On September 29, 1998, 177 hip-hop artists, producers, and influencers gathered at 17 East 126th Street in Harlem to pose for what would become one of the music industry’s most iconic photographs. A Great Day in Hip-Hop, first published on the cover of issue #7 of XXL magazine, was Gordon Parks’s homage to Art Kane’s 1958 photograph of 57 jazz musicians spilling off the same Harlem brownstone stoop for Esquire magazine. Kane’s photograph—commonly referred to as “A Great Day in Harlem”— became a popular culture icon and model for countless homages recording other historical gatherings, ranging from A Great Day in Hollywood to a Dutch version titled A Great Day in Haarlem. Yet Gordon Parks’s 1998 homage, created on the 40th anniversary of Kane’s image, is the only one among them that reached the original’s iconic status, not least because of Parks’s keen understanding of the importance of the image’s backdrop.
The Gordon Parks Foundation