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A look at Milwaukee’s largest hip-hop collection and its goal to promote peace

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Mallory Cheng
Antonia Anderson named her hip-hop collection Antonia's 365 Hip Hop Museum.

One of the largest hip-hop collections in the state lives in Milwaukee. Antonia Anderson has been a lifelong fan of hip-hop and now her apartment features a display of hip-hop records, memorabilia and even listening stations.

Ranging from 1930s gospel to early 2000s hip-hop, her collection includes national and local artists. Before COVID, Anderson would go out into the community to different pop up events to show off her collection. But once things shut down, everything went into boxes. So, Anderson decided to put it all up in her home and that's when she got the idea for a museum.

Anderson named her collection Antonia’s 365 Hip Hop Museum.

"During the pandemic, I really started collecting more hip-hop items. My motivation was to encourage the students and the youth to find a way to express themselves through hip-hop. And also it helps them with their critical thinking skills," she explains.

She found the messages of peace in hip-hop to be inspirational. Anderson especially was moved by KRS-One's Stop the Violence campaign, which he started after the death of Scott La Rock.

In Antonia's 365 Hip Hop Museum, she deliberately chooses music that emphasize positive messages centered in peace and community and stays away from records that promote violence or substance abuse.

Anderson's career is focused on working with students and she says she wanted to create a space for young people to feel comfortable and be heard. Anderson says she grew up feeling like she wasn't heard, and she found solace in hip-hop.

"I feel that hip-hop has healed me, so that's why I use it to heal the younger generation. I do believe music itself is soothing. It gets people comfortable. I do feel like hip hop and music heals the kids. It gives them that outlet to be creative, to write, to use critical thinking and just use their strengths, build up on their strengths, to feel like they can do what they need to do in this life."

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Mallory Cheng
A look at Antonia's 365 Hip Hop Museum collection.

Anderson says this is really just the beginning of working towards building more positive outlets in Milwaukee.

As for adding more to the collection, she says there is always room for more and donations are welcome, especially to help grow her collection of local hip-hop records.

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