Do you love hip hop? That’s a trick question, because with Billboard reporting that hip-hop consumption is on the rise, I expect that many of you do love hip hop. If you love hip hop, why not go to a school that feeds your appetite for it?
Trinity is home to the annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival. Organized every year by the student members of Trinity’s chapter of Temple of Hip Hop, this festival brings hip hop to Trinity’s campus and allows students to experience hip hop from many different platforms. By demonstrating the elements of hip hop—graffiti, break dancing, beat boxing, DJ’ing, and MC’ing—the festival gives students the full hip-hop experience.
The International Hip-Hop Festival began in 2006 when a couple of Trinity students saw that there needed to be a different view of the popular music genre. These students saw that hip hop was being exploited and negatively appropriated by corporations for monetary gain, thereby creating a false image of the genre. Instead of hip hop being displayed as an art form used to ignite lyrical expression and storytelling, the image of hip hop promoted by the media was one that exploited women and promoted drug use and violence. The international hip hop festival was created to help combat such negative imagery and promote unity, love, and music with substance. The festival is Now in its 13th year, the festival has done just that and has gained so much publicity and momentum.
Since the festival is one of its kind, it has been recognized by many publications and news outlets, which has helped spread the word of its work to people all over the world. Every year, the festival brings artists and hip hop connoisseurs from across the globe, including Egypt, Russia, Japan, China, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Canada, as well as local and national artists. Each of these guests brings their own experiences of how hip hop is used and listened to in their home countries and how it has shaped who they are as artists. From graffiti artists to break dancers, the amount of international talent present on campus during the festival is amazing!
The festival is split into three days and attendance is free for everyone on campus and for the Hartford community, which helps strengthen the bond between students and Hartford residents. There is never a dull moment during those three days. They are filled with multiple activities that bring the elements of hip hop to life. Through lectures on hop hip developments, break dancing competitions, and organic free styling battles, the hip hop community is truly alive on campus. The big event that everyone looks forward to is a performance from the headliner. Every year, the organization gets some of the industry’s heaviest hitters and pioneers. Past years have seen Rakim, Talib Kweli, MC LYTE, and many others as headliners.
Each year the festival brings a lot of joy to both Trinity’s campus and the Hartford community. It gathers people together and introduces various cultures to the student body. This year’s festival happened April 6–9, and you can read a recap by Seth Markle, associate professor of history and international studies and faculty adviser to the festival. I hope you get a chance to experience the festival first-hand and understand why it is such an amazing event!