HOUSTON – The HMAAC (Houston Museum of African-American Culture) & The Houston Arts Alliance Folklife and Traditional Arts Program will present a lecture by Houston native Langston Collins Wilkins, (PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology & Folklore at Indiana University) entitled “Still Holdin’ SLAB: Cars, Music, and Community in Houston, Texas.” The lecture will be held Wednesday, August 8th, beginning at 6:30 pm, at HMAAC, 4807 Caroline Street.
“SLAB”culture is a special car-centered tradition that emerged from certain sectors of Houston’s African-American community, associated with the city’s hip-hop scene and other art forms related to the musical genre. In particular, SLABs are restored and/or customized full-size (mostly GM) vehicles such as Cadillac Fleetwoods, Eldorados, Buicks, Oldsmobile Cutlasses and/or Delta 88s. Wilkins will give an overview of the tradition in his lecture and discuss its relationship to the development of hip-hop in Houston.
SLAB’s are particularly popular in Houston’s historically Black neighborhoods, including former Houston-area suburban communities, e.g. South Park, Sunnyside, Acres Homes, and enclaves located in Missouri City. It almost goes without saying that automobiles of all kinds have had enormous influence on Houston culture, largely a result of the city’s urban sprawl and comparatively spare public transportation system. Car culture is often celebrated by city’s residents, most notably during the annual Art Car Parade where hundreds of uniquely modified cars are paraded through Houston’s downtown. SLAB culture participates in this citywide romance with the car, but is distinguished by its unique style and sensibility.
Houston Museum of African-American Culture (HMAAC) is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization with a mission to collect, conserve, explore, interpret, and exhibit the material and intellectual culture of Africans and African-Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest and the African Diaspora for current and future generations. In fulfilling its mission, HMAAC seeks to invite and engage visitors of every race and background, and to inspire children of all ages through discovery-driven learning. HMAAC is a museum for all people. While our focus is the African-American experience, our story in Texas informs and includes not only people of color, but people of all colors. The admission to the museum is free. For more information, call 713-526-1015.