Mother of legendary producer J Dilla talks about his inclusion in the Smithsonian

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More than likely there was not a single person happier with last month’s news that famed producer J Dilla’s equipment will be displayed at the Smithsonian than his mom, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey.

After making the announcement at the “D.C. Loves Dilla” tribute concert in the nation’s capital last month, Ma Dukes told The Huffington Post how it all happened.


“I’ve been approached by a lot of institutions, but the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is very accessible to all,” said Yancey on her decision to donate Dilla’s production tools to the Smithsonian.

During the interview, Yancey also revealed that the Smithsonian actually reached out to her five years ago in hopes of securing some of Dilla’s artifacts for display. At the time, she says she felt it was too soon to part with her son’s things.


When asked if she thought her son would ever imagine the tools he used to create songs would be on display for the world to see, she sent a message of inspiration to today’s youth.

“I want young people to understand that no matter where you come from, you should always pursue your dreams,” Yancey said.

J Dilla’s equipment will be a part of the Smithsonian’s upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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