For months friends and family of Robert “PH” Diaz petitioned to get the corner of the block that Rob grew up on co-named for him, speaking before Community Board 6, which voted to recommend the street co-naming to the Transportation Authority. After the Transportation Authority voted to approve the co-naming, the final decision went up to the City Council and ultimately New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, who signs all street name changes into law, at City Hall.
On Thursday, February 25th, Mayor de Blasio made the announcement that Degraw Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Brooklyn will be renamed “Robert PH Diaz Way” in honor of the late great rapper PH, formerly known as Pumpkinhead. (See the video montage of the press conference at City Hall).
The petition to co-name Degraw Street between 4th and 5th Avenue was strongly supported by Councilman Brad Landers and Craig Hammerman. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo spoke of all of the people being honored with street co-namings, saying that it is “part of the healing process”, that this will “immortalize” them and is “changing the face of New York History”.
PH was known for his music, his legacy as a champion on the freestyle battle rap scene of the 90’s and the acapela battle rap scene that emerged later in the 2000’s. Beyond music he was loved and respected for using his connections and relationships to further many artists’ Hip Hop careers, for promoting Hip Hop culture and the battle rap scene and for producing many events, including several for charitable causes, from feeding and clothing the homeless, to raising money for asthma awareness.
Shawntay Ocasio, PH’s surviving wife, thanked CB6, the Mayor, City Council, Councilman Landers and “everyone who helped honor my husband.” “I know Robert would be overwhelmed by all the support,” she added, noting the significance of the co-naming of “Hip Hop Way” in the Bronx, in honor of DJ Kool Herc and Hip Hop culture in general, on the same day, since PH “worked endlessly to keep Hip Hop alive in New York City.”
Family friend Claudia Imperiale said that “Rob aka Pumpkinhead will forever be recognized and remembered in the city that he loved, in the neighborhood that made him who he was – Park Slope…. we love you Rob and you deserve this.”
The unveiling of the “Robert ‘PH’ Diaz Way” street sign will take place at 11am, on Saturday April 23rd, 2016, on the corner of 5th Ave & Degraw (aka Robert ‘PH’ Diaz Way), followed by a special celebration brunch party at Littlefield from 12 – 5pm. Several notable DJ’s who were friends of Robert and part of his career will be spinning, including Neil Armstrong, Mista Sinista, DP One, Joe Bodega, Cabin, Kilz and Suce (Sucio Smash). Food is being donated by local eateries including Mulina Ristorante Italiano, El Polittos, The V Spot vegan restaurant and the newly opened Fresh Bite Mediterranean Grill.
The party is a benefit fundraiser for Robert’s three children, his sons Raiden and Royce and newborn daughter Robbie Diaz, whom their mother Shawntay affectionately refers to as “My three R’s”. You can RSVP to the event, share stories, pics and music on the Facebook event page. Ticket’s to the party available at Ticketfly.
The song featured in the video of the press conference is King Latifah off of PH’s album KNOW THE LEDGE (MCMI Records). It is available on bandcamp, itunes, Amazon and all digital outlets. CD’s are available at UGHH. All proceeds from sales benefit Robert’s family, so you can also support by supporting his music and legacy.
MCMI REPORT: Robert PH Diaz Street Co-Naming Ceremony & Celebration April 23rd!