Cara Munn ’15
For the past seven years, Trinity’s annual International Hip-Hop Festival has been a heavily-anticipated event. Among the featured events were a spectacular performance by “The West End Blend” on Friday in the Washington Room on the second floor of Mather and the Graffiti drawing and the highly impressive Hip-Hop Showcase on the Cave Patio on Saturday.
It seems that the Festival was more of a success this year than ever before. According to John Moran, ’15, “The International Hip Hop Festival is perhaps the coolest thing Trinity has to offer. I hope everyone here is planning to go to all these events.”
There were many exciting lectures held throughout the Festival as well. On Thursday, April 4, there was a lecture on African Nationalism and Decolonization with Professor Seth Markle, Hip Hop as an Educational Tool in Ethiopia/Ghana by guest lecturers Carol O’Connor and Teddy Yo, Intro to Human Rights Studies by Professor Sofia Cardenas, Hip Hop and Human Rights in Senegal with guest lecturer Bideew Bou Bess, Global Politics with Professor Michael Anderson, Hip Hop Ourstory with guest lecturer Minister Server, Women, Gender, and Family in the Middle East and Transnational Hip-Hop and Arab Youth Politics with Dr. Lara Dotson-Renta. Following the lectures were various shows, film screenings and workshops that dealt with how music is used in African American culture today. From the Spoken Word Workshop with Urban Word NYC by M.C. K~ Swift to Musicology 101 to the Live Medium, there were many fascinating things to choose from.
On Friday, April 5, there was a host of engaging activities to explore as well. For example, they had the urban flea market in the Washington Room that featured Connecticut vendors such as the Hartford Denim Company, Nomadic Wax, World Hip Hop Market, Pura Vida Bracelets, Nora Cupcake Company, Hartford Prints, Hajila Movement and Dewy Neo. Upon entering the Washington Room Friday afternoon, one is immediately struck by the amount of merchandise they had on the tables. A person could buy a wide variety of items from clothes to records. Another major attraction was the band on the stage, “The West End Blend.” They were extremely interactive with their audience, encouraging them to dance and sing along with them as they performed their pieces.
At the same time, in the nearby Terrace Rooms B and C, there was the Hip Hop Artist Lecture Series. This featured interesting lectures like “RAPtivism” with Aisha Fukushima of the United States/Japan and Identitary Juxtaposition; Notes on the African Heritage in Mexico, Hip Hop and Counter-Hegemonic Movements in Latin America with BocaFloja of Mexico. Following the Hip Hop Artist Lecture Series, they had “Workshops for Artists.” These included but were not limited to interesting workshops on the Bankable Artist with Self Suffice, The RapOet, Challenges for the Do-It-Yourself Hip Hop Artist: Overcoming Legal and Business Obstacles in the Current Music Market Panel. There was also a Q & A with key people in the field such as Tony Tampano, an Entertainment Attorney and Business and Legal Affairs Executive, Edward “Self Service Hinson- who is an 18-time Platinum Produce who produced records for DMX, Ja Rule, Jay-Z and others. Among other important people at the event were Michael Brinkley, a Connecticut-based Artist Manager, Orville Hall, Director of Marketing for Adidas/ Director of Marketing for Polo Ground Music, and Steven Josey, a Film Producer/Record Producer. Later that night, there were lectures on Hip Hop around the world, from Europe all the way to the Middle East to Asia.
This International Hip Hop Festival had a lot to offer students and members of the Trinity College community,
Most importantly it brought a broad set of people together under one roof. Many of the people present at this event will be impatiently waiting for next year’s Hip-Hop festival.