A Collector’s Colorful Queens Apartment Is Inspired by Hip Hop Culture

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Name: Syreeta Gates
Location: Queens, NYC
Type of home: Penthouse Apartment
Size: 1000 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My name is Syreeta Gates and I am a Hip Hop Archivist, Art Collector, and Filmmaker committed to preserving hip hop culture in such a way that it lasts forever. A few years ago I used to have a segment on WBAI called “History meets Hip Hop” and I’m certain that my life is a reflection of that. I often talked about the impact of my uncles born in 1969, my mother born in 1950, and my grandmother born in 1926. I think my space is actually a reflection of the idea of history being a bridge to hip hop, to me which is my family.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: The life that chose me!

What is your favorite room and why? My living room! It reminds me of who I choose to be in the world! It’s where I get to entertain and literally where all the magic happens. In this room, I have photos of my family and furniture from my grandmother and uncle, which means a great deal to me.

It’s also where I have my library and as an extensive reader these books are some of my most treasured possessions. It firmly reflects the things that I’m passionate about. I have Lego sculptures, pictures of rappers, visual art, and other things that I’m inspired by. These artifacts give me life and they are a reminder of why I do this work that I’m committed to.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I purchased was a first edition of “The Black Book” by Ernest Smith, Roger Furman, Morris Levitt, Middleton A. Harris, edited by the brilliant Toni Morrison. I recently saw it in “The Pieces I Am,” a documentary about Toni Morrison. I knew I had to have it in my collection.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take the time to figure out how you want to feel in the space. When you love the work that you do in the world, be mindful that it does not overpower your personal commitments in your home. Your home is where you can really show what balance may look like for you. Shout out to my amazing interior designer, Naika Andre of NJA Interiors who helped me achieve balance and beauty in every corner of my apartment.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.